The Ministries of our Church
NEW START Lifestyle Club
WALK TO JERUSALEM
LET'S EAT AT BETHSAIDA
It was almost time for dinner but the crowds didn't want to go home. All day they had been listening to Jesus. Many had walked far from home and eaten nothing since morning. Now the sun was setting but still they wouldn't leave.
The town of Bethsaida was nearby and the people could have found something to eat there. But Jesus said something very startling to the disciples. He said, "They do not need to go away. YOU give them something to eat!" (Matthew 14:16) Can you imagine how the disciples felt when they looked across that sea of people and wondered how in theworld they could feed them all?
I'm sure they didn't do a head-count, but the Bible tells us there were 5000 men in the crowd that day, not to mention all the women and children. "There were mothers with babes in their arms, and little children clinging to their skirts. Many had been standing for hours. They had been so intensely interested in Christ's words that they had not thought of sitting down, and the crowd was so great that there was danger of their trampling upon one another" (Desire of Ages, pp. 365-366).
How in the world could 12 men feed such a crowd? The poor disciples could only see Impossibilities because they were only thinking in human terms. Counting the people. Counting their money and knowing it wasn't enough. But whenever our resources are low, we can turn to God, for He owns the cattle on a thousand hills (Psalm 50:10). He says, "The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine" (Haggai 2:8). He is well able to provide for all our needs "according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19).
Christ's command to give the crowds something to eat is also a promise. And behind the promise is the same power that Jesus used in feeding the 5000+ people on the hills of Bethsaida that day.
"In Christ's acts of supplying the temporal necessities of a hungry multitude is wrapped up a deep spiritual lesson for all His workers. Christ received from the Father, He imparted to the disciples, they imparted to the multitude, and the people to one another. So all who are united to Christ will receive from Him the bread of life, the heavenly bread, and impart it to others" (Desire of Ages, p. 369). Or as Jesus once said, "Freely you have received, freely give" (Matthew 10:8).
Here we find an important discleship principle: The more we share, the more we will receive. In the same way, the more we work to help others, the more we will grow like Christ. For as the needs around us grow, so will our trust in God to provide. We will also seek the Lord with greater intensity because we realize that we can only impart to others what we have first received for ourselves. So the more we grow like Jesus, the more we will have to share. The bread of life will be multiplied in our hands through the grace of Christ living in us and through us.
Our work in and around the city of Flint may look just as daunting to us as the 5000 on the hillsides were to the first disciples of Jesus. Our resources are stretched to the max. But our mission isn't hopeless because there is no such thing as impossible when we put our faith in God.
"The means in our possession may not seem sufficient for the work; but if we will move forward, believing in the all-sufficient power of God, abundant resources will open before us. If the work is of God, He Himself will provide the means for its accomplishment. He will reward honest, simple reliance upon Him. The little that is wisely and economically used in the service of the Lord of heaven will increase in the very act of imparting" (Desire of Ages, p. 371).
This amazing promise is ours when we cooperate with Jesus in work of saving souls. "And God is able to make all grace [His power] abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work" (2 Corinthians 9:8). There certainly is no limit with God!
FOR DEEPER BLESSINGS:
* Read Luke 9:1-17
* Read Desire of Ages, pp. 364-371