Jesus’ disciples were in the thick of learning how to love others with an eternal love. Jesus sent them out on their first mission trip, read Mark 6:7-13 to learn more. They returned to report to Jesus all that they had done and taught, see Mark 6:30. Jesus wanted to separate them from the crowds so they could rest for a while, but the crowds were insistent on hearing what Jesus had to say.
“Jesus had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd.”34
In Mark 6:35-44, Jesus teaches His disciples how to love others deeply. He wants to teach YOU how to love others deeply with His eternal love. Let’s see what you (and I) can learn from this passage, and may you feed others in a deep and meaningful way that leads them to what their hearts are needing.
It was later in the day and people were getting hungry. You learn from verse 35 that they were in a remote place. Pay attention to the fact that people left their daily routines at home and sought Jesus. They went to where He was at. Their hearts desired something that their own lives couldn’t fill. Do you have a hunger that can’t be satisfied? Are you trying to get filled by earthly venues or people and you are left frustrated and still hungry? My friend, Jesus wants to help you refocus your life.
The disciples cared about the physical needs of people. They asked Jesus to send everyone to the neighboring towns and farms to get something to eat. What does Jesus say to them in verse 37?
“YOU feed them.”
Jesus had other plans. Jesus had a different way in loving others. His love goes beyond physical appetites, and Jesus is about to show His disciples the difference between loving others in their own strength and wisdom versus loving others God’s way. God’s way is through Jesus where you follow Him.
The disciples’ reply to Jesus, I believe, is how every one of us responds to God when He asks us to do something for Him. “‘With what?’ they asked.”37 The disciples were looking around at the masses of people knowing McDonald’s or Walmart are not nearby. They didn’t have the money to buy everyone a Happy Meal. “You want us to feed all these people? How?”
Do you feel inadequate when God gives you a task to do?
The disciples were going to have their faith in Jesus be taken to a whole new level. They were going to learn that they need Jesus for everything if they were going to walk in His ways. A Christian’s life is not a solo act. Christ must be at the helm in order for faith to operate properly. The helm is your heart. Jesus must be on the throne in your heart 24/7.
Jesus disregarded all the excuses the disciples came up with. “‘So, how much bread do you have? Go and find out.’ He asked.”38 Jesus will help you manage the task at hand. Break down the task into smaller ones and take one thing at a time. He had the disciples put all the people into small groups so they could serve them easier. This is good time management and project management skills.
What did the disciples have on hand; see verse 38? Do you feel like your offerings are small like some fish and bread? They aren’t important, you think. What difference can I make in the world? God was going to show them what happens when Jesus is allowed to take their small offerings and use for it for His glory and Kingdom.
When Jesus was given the fish and bread, what was the first thing He did with them, see verse 41? Thankfulness and prayer are essential in loving others eternally. These two Kingdom traits help to keep Jesus on the throne in your heart.
Next, Jesus broke the fish and bread so it could be distributed. Brokenness has to happen within you before you can serve and love others. Humility must be present in believers. You become His servant where the needs of others take precedence. Believers are called to persuade others to follow Jesus. God wants no one to perish, and He uses you (and I) to serve and love others so they, too, will come to believe.
When you give Christ your little offerings, He can take them and multiply them beyond yourself. “A total of 5,000 men and their families were fed from those loaves!”44 What makes it hard to believe is that you often don’t see the big picture of how your offerings are making a difference.
God promises that you will make a difference! He sees everything you do for Him. Read Daniel 2:20-22, Proverbs 15:3, and Jeremiah 23:24 and be encouraged.
You were made to bring glory to God. 1 Peter 4:7-11 speaks perfectly of loving others with an eternal love, “The end of the world is coming soon. Therefore, be earnest and disciplined in your prayers. Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay. God has given each of you a gift from His great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another…then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to Him forever and ever! Amen.”