I am finally in the New Testament for the 90-day Bible reading plan. Huzzah! This is the second day. I am plowing through Mark now.
Back in Matthew 15, Jesus fed the multitude with 7 loaves and a few small fish. Miraculous! The disciples brought him what they had, and He blessed it. Earlier in Matthew, He did the same thing with five loves and two fishes. In Mark 8, the scenario is recounted again.
The disciples and a little boy shared what they had, knowing it could not possibly be enough. But they wanted to try to meet the need: hunger. In the natural, physical world, there was no way it would feed everyone – thousands of men, women and children. They surrendered it up anyway. They trusted God to bless it, to make it stretch. The odds looked impossible. It could have been an opportunity for despair to take over. God cared about meeting the most basic needs of people.
I’ve often heard these miracles used in the context of tithing and giving. And they should be. I don’t see a wrong application there. The Lord is our provider. But what about our impossible circumstances? Our particular need may be as great to us as physical hunger. When we’ve done all we can to fix things, and they still aren’t right, what then? I believe we must surrender up our tools and our ideas and say, “Here, God. I can’t do any more. It’s time for you to do what you do best.” Our efforts and input do count. I believe the bread and fish represent our contribution to make things better. Jesus could have made loaves and fishes appear, but He asked, “What do you have?” Our prayers, our time, our considered counsel matter. They show our willingness to put our best effort forward to help. They show our care and concern. Yet, when they fail, it is then that the Lord must breathe on them to give them life.
The loaves and fishes miracles recount the disciples picking up basketfuls of leftover bread and fish. Basketfuls! Twelve basketfuls, in Mark 8, to be exact. How did that happen? Did the crowd eat sparingly? Somehow, I suspect not. There may have been 5,000 men, but I’m betting there were thousands of children present, too. Little kids don’t think that way. They trust that there will be plenty and they eat until they are full. They trust. They’re not worrying about lack.
Do I trust my God to find a solution when things look bleak? Am I willing to lay down my loaves and fishes and say, “It’s yours now, Abba”? I have done all I can. I need to be like a little child and let my Daddy take over. He will not fail me.