Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

11. Philip – The Problem and the Provider – Part 3

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5 Jesus soon saw a huge crowd of people coming to look for him. Turning to Philip, he asked, “Where can we buy bread to feed all these people?” 6 He was testing Philip, for he already knew what he was going to do. 7 Philip replied, “Even if we worked for months, we wouldn’t have enough money to feed them!”8 Then Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up. 9 “There’s a young boy here with five barley loaves and two fish. But what good is that with this huge crowd?”10 “Tell everyone to sit down,” Jesus said. So they all sat down on the grassy slopes. (The men alone numbered about 5,000.) 11 Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks to God, and distributed them to the people. Afterward he did the same with the fish. And they all ate as much as they wanted. 12 After everyone was full, Jesus told his disciples, “Now gather the leftovers, so that nothing is wasted.” 13 So they picked up the pieces and filled twelve baskets with scraps left by the people who had eaten from the five barley loaves.

It’s here that we see that part of Jesus plan is a call for us to:

  • Participate

God’s plan for our problems includes our participation. When we place our inadequacies in His Hands He Provides. The boy with five loaves and two fish was the poorest of the poor, what he had was so far below the bare minimum of what was needed that Andrew considered it nothing. Yet his insufficient “nothing” fed everyone how, by exchanging hands. What is significant is not WHAT we have but WHO we have! We want to give out of our strengths, we feel some sense of pride about giving our best, about giving up what is really quite valuable, what we think “God needs.” Jesus taught us the truth about this  when He was at the temple, and he “looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins, equivalent to a penny. And he said, ‘Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.’ (Luke 21.1-4). When we give out of abundance, we are tempted to imagine that we have enriched God. But God does not need our gifts; he is after our faith in his goodness. It is when we give out of our poverty, when all we have to give is totally inadequate, a mere penny, that we realize that it is God that is enriching us not us enriching Him. If the only thing you have to offer is a broken heart, offer your broken heart. Nothing I have, nothing I am will be refused by Jesus I simply need to give it to Him as the little boy gave Jesus his five loaves and two small fishes. You may ask like the disciples did ‘What good is that for such a large problem?’ But the use He makes of it is none of my business; it is His business, it is His blessing. So, this grief, this loss, this suffering, this pain this I can offer. In the exchange of hands I am brought to a greater recognition of who He is. This little boy lost his lunch; but ended up eating more than his fill. He gave everything and ended up with more. Math in God’s kingdom is different than we expect! It is common to be paralyzed by inadequacy, we hold back because our focus is on WHAT we have not WHO we have. If we wait until we have enough to give we will never open up our hands to God. We want much to offer before we offer anything. In a futile effort to get much, we grow discouraged and miss the joy of living for God. We miss the great workings of God because we are unwilling to accept the humility of giving what little we have, we hoard, hoping for enough to attempt a great work for God. I can give what I have because it’s not what I give but God’s miracle that changes the world.

  • Provision
  1. Involved Prayer

Jesus thanked God why because the provision is not just focusing on the problem but the provider. The provision reminds us that we not only have a provider but who that provider is, Jesus points us to the Father. Prayer reminds us of His Power and Position. Jesus multiples the food so that you will know that he alone is the way to the Father. The consistency between the Old and New Testament is the provider God. In the Old Testament when the people left Egypt during the Exodus God provided manna here He provides bread. When all is said and done the provision is so great that there are left overs. There is more to eat after all have eaten than there was before the first bite! Jesus is our provision He is the bread of life and the filling of the multitude is a testimony to the sufficiency of Christ. He not only fills but he fills to overflowing. Are you empty today do you need to be filled? Then come to Jesus the bread of life.

  1. Involves the Disciples

Jesus provided the miracle and invited the disciples to participate in serving the food. Today we want involvement free miracles but serving the Savior is not a Spectator Sport!  The disciples were not just involved in serving but also in clean up. Serving means sharing what Jesus has done with others. Jesus wants us to serve He tested Philip and he got overwhelmed with what it would take to serve others. When we really count the cost its beyond what we can meet but not beyond what Jesus can do. Philip was involved in serving the baskets of food because He obeyed the Savior. If you want to serve you have to focus on the Savior and ignore self, when you do you will become overwhelmed with His power instead of the problem. We have become so self-seeking as a culture that very few actually serve. We have turned Christianity into what we can get instead of what we can give. Worship has become about how it affects me not how it glorifies God. We want His church designed to meet our needs not the LOST. We have replaced ministry with me.

  • We say, “It’s impossible”; God says: “What is impossible with men is possible with God.”
  • We say, “I’m too tired”; God says: “I will give you rest.”
  • We say, “Nobody really loves me”; God says: “I love you.”
  • We say: “I can’t go on.” God says: “My grace is sufficient; my power is made perfect in weakness.”
  • We say, “I can’t figure things out.” God says: “I will direct your steps.”
  • We say, “I can’t do it.” God says: “You can do all things through Christ, who strengthens you.”
  • We say, “It’s not worth it.” God says: “I am working all things together for your good.”
  • We say, “I can’t forgive myself.” God says: “I forgive you.”
  • We say, “I can’t manage.” God says: “I will supply every need according to my riches in glory.”
  • We say, “I’m afraid.” God says: “Fear not, I am with you.”
  • We say, “I’m worried.” God says: “Cast all your anxieties on me, for I care for you.”
  • We say, “I’m not smart enough.” God says: “I give you the wisdom of my son, Jesus, and his righteousness and sanctification and redemption.”
  • We say, “I feel all alone.” God says: “I will never leave you or forsake you.”

So who are you trusting in today, is it self or the Savior?


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