“In those days, the multitude being very great and having nothing to eat, Jesus called His disciples to Him and said to them, “I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now continued with Me three days and have nothing to eat. And if I send them away hungry to their own houses, they will faint on the way; for some of them have come from afar.”
Then His disciples answered Him, “How can one satisfy these people with bread here in the wilderness?” He asked them, “How many loaves do you have?” And they said, “Seven.” (Mark 8:1-5)
These days, I often relate to the disciples of Jesus.
Here we are, at the feet of the miracle of feeding the four thousand. We have traveled miles and miles with Jesus and the disciples. We have seen several miracles happen, like the feeding of the five thousand. Then, another need arises.
Jesus asks the disciples, “how many loaves do you have?” And I stop at that question. Because the disciples have been here already. They saw the fish and bread turned into a miracle that fed at least five thousand people. It all started with the offering of the little boy, who gave his lunch. The disciples were there to carry those baskets full of leftovers. And yet they seem to be lost when this need came their way.
Like I said, I can relate to the disciples of Jesus.
A friend pointed out recently the strain the disciples had to go through. When Jesus tells the disciples that the multitude has continued with Him for three days? The disciples were surely there as well. They had walked hundred of miles, met countless of needy people, worked and ministered through the night.
So often I focus on why the disciples weren’t already running to Jesus with those seven loaves of bread. Hadn’t they been here before? Hadn’t they learned already from the last time?
And yet, they were probably exhausted. Maybe they were hoping for a different answer this time. Maybe they were hoping for someone else to do the work. At least that’s what I hope for so often. I hope for a fast miracle, one that doesn’t require so much of me. Or maybe I pray for more workers and less work for me personally. But I don’t know if that’s how God works. Not because I have so much to give. But rather because when I don’t have anything to give anymore, God can use me. When all my ideas are exhausted, God can give me resources to do the task well.
And right there, I relate to the disciples. Because how many times has Jesus asked me, “How many loaves do you have?” Just when I think there is nothing to give, He gives me what I need. And I am thankful for the grace He gives to try again.
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