The account of the feeding of the 5,000 is recorded in all 4 Gospels and is the only miracle of Jesus to be so recorded. The account is relatively short and objective and each version of the events sets the stage by telling how tired and exhausted the disciples and Jesus were. They were seeking a retreat from the crowds. However, they were followed by people wanting to hear more from Jesus. As the day is coming to an end, the disciples encourage Jesus to send the crowds away to find food for themselves. Jesus does the unexpected and tells them to feed the crowd.
Feed the crowd? With what? We’ve been with you all afternoon with no time to cater a meal to this huge crowd. Plus, we don’t have enough money to buy food from the villagers. You know this isn’t exactly a business area where food can be easily purchased.
Can you hear the excuses? Can you hear the desperation going on behind the scenes? This task was a daunting, if not an impossible, one.
Can’t we just let these people find their own food and we can go and find a place to rest?
How do you respond when you are given a seemingly impossible task? Do you let the circumstances overwhelm you? I know I do. I tend to focus on my abilities and my time just like the disciples did.
One of the disciples was able to round up a bit of food. Did he maybe laugh when he handed it over to Jesus, saying something like: “Here, this was the best I could do on such short notice. See, I told you so, there isn’t much food to give to these people.”
Jesus took the food (perhaps with a sly grin) and prayed to ask God’s blessing on the food. Then He began distributing it to the people. The disciples lined up and each took a basket of food to share with a group in the crowd and repeated this process until all were fed. When they were all finished eating, the disciples were able to collect 12 FULL baskets of leftovers!
It was a miracle!
The disciples’ focus was on the here and now and the overwhelming task at hand. Jesus was concerned with the process . . .how to conquer that overwhelming task. Jesus demonstrated how to trust God with the daunting task we may face – yes, even the seemingly impossible task!
Trust God. Ask Him to intervene and then do your best. God would not ask you to do something that you can’t handle. God can use that tough task to get your attention back on Him. He will not abandon you in your time of need. He will more than supply your needs just like in the miracle of feeding 5,000 (Philippians 4:19).
Are you facing an overwhelming task? Are you exhausted from keeping up with the day-to-day tasks of life and just can’t handle one more thing? Stop focusing on the task(s). Look to Jesus and ask for His help. Pray for a perspective change. Ask God to use you to do impossible things!