Jesus’ Loving Presence in the World—You! - page 5


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From the Summer 2015 issue of Knowing & Doing:  

Jesus' Loving Presence in the World–You!

by Chris Sicks
Associate Pastor of Mercy, Alexandria Presbyterian Church

 
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  The first thing they had to know was that they couldn’t do it alone. When Jesus told the apostles, “You give them something to eat” (Mark 6:37), He knew it was impossible for them to do it. Jesus wanted the disciples to feel the helplessness of staring thousands of hungry people in the face and not having enough food to feed them. Don’t we feel the same sense of helplessness as we look at the overwhelming needs of the world today?
  Here’s my point: Feelings of helplessness should not be obstacles to ministry, but reasons to cling to Christ. Just as need drives unbelievers like Naaman into the arms of God, our helplessness keeps us coming back to Him as we do His ministry, as Spurgeon said:

It is a good thing for us to know how very poor we are, and how far from being able to meet the wants of the people around us. It is for our good to be made to confess this in so many words to our Lord. Truly, he who writes this comment has often felt as if he had neither loaf nor fish, and yet for some forty years and more he has been a full-handed waiter at the King’s great banquets.6

  Jesus’ next lesson was to deploy the disciples as waiters to distribute the food. He didn’t lay out a buffet for the people. He could have simply snapped His fingers, made a huge table, and asked everyone to file through. Instead, He offered thanks to His Father and gave the bread and fish “to the disciples to set before the people” (Mark 6:41).
  It’s fascinating to me that Jesus did not explain things to the disciples first. He could have said, “All right, look. I know there’s only a little bread and fish. But as you hand it out, I’m going to make it regenerate. There’ll be plenty, so don’t worry.” Why didn’t He explain the plan?
  I think Jesus wanted the disciples to trust and rely on Him to do the impossible (which is just what you need to do when you move into the lives of hurting people around you). As the disciples walked around like waiters, trusting Jesus that somehow there would be food enough for all, they experienced the miracle firsthand. They saw the bread multiply in their hands, they saw the empty bellies fill up, and their faith in Jesus grew. They learned they could do impossible things when Jesus was with them.
  When the disciples had counted to seven (five loaves of bread plus two fish), they felt helpless. They knew they could never feed the crowd with those seven items. But Jesus was teaching kingdom of God algebra to His disciples. In the regular world, 5 + 2 = 7. But in the kingdom, where x equals Christ, 5 + 2 + x = 5,000. Through this miracle, the disciples learned to count to eight: five loaves of bread plus two fish plus Jesus.
  If you are trying to do something that seems impossible and you feel frustrated or hopeless, perhaps you are relying on yourself and earthly resources. Learn to count to eight. Take whatever resources you have, then ask Jesus to use them however He wants. If He has called you to do something difficult, you can be sure He will provide all that you need to do it.

Summary

  Are you available to be used by Jesus? Maybe you are afraid of what you might lose—friendship, time, security, the respect of others. Yet there are people around you right now with wounds and hurts God can address through you. Some are lost souls whom God can save when they hear the gospel.
  Some people, like Naaman, are good at hiding their needs behind nice clothes and comfortable lives. Pay attention at school, at work, at the pool, and in the neighborhood. You could be a messenger to hurting people there. Get close enough to folks to find out where they hurt, and be their friend. Tell them about the only Source of real healing for bodies and souls.

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