From our days in children’s Church up till now we have been taught great lessons from the feeding of the five thousand by Jesus, focusing on how He multiplied what was glaringly insufficient to feed the multitude. Here are more lessons from this very instructive story that you can add to your knowledge bank.
1Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), 2and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the signs he had performed by healing the sick. 3Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. 4The Jewish Passover Festival was near. 5When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” 6He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do. 7Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” 8Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, 9″Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish… – John 6:1-9 (NIV)
In this instalment, we would learn three lessons from the Scripture reference.
1. Looking at Verses 5-7, Jesus did not ask Philip where to get money to feed them but where to get the bread that will feed the people. This means that the money was not an issue at all. Philip’s answer corroborates this as he said eight month’s wages were not sufficient. Philip didn’t complain that it was too much or that the money was not available. He wasn’t saying that they didn’t have eight month’s wages to spend but that such an amount would not be sufficient to feed the people. I believe that he was playing the role of a financial adviser here, as if to say, “Sir I don’t think You should approve such a huge amount of money for this very short term project.” The point here is that Jesus never had a money problem! Some preachers say that He was so rich that He could generously afford to have a thief as His treasurer. It is His will to prosper us. Our salvation is not complete if it lacks the detail of prosperity. If He prospered on earth, you are meant to flourish too.
2. Jesus didn’t ask where to get bread for Him to eat but for the people to eat. Jesus is more concerned about you than you think. Furthermore, He knew that if He got food for them to eat having what He will eat will was not going be a problem. He was concerned about the people and Kingdom matters. When you are concerned about and engaged in pursuing the needs of others and the expansion of the Kingdom, your own needs will be taken care of, and the things you need will come to you. When you want God to get it done through you, He will surely get it to you. God will take you to the point where the money to do things will never be the issue but the things to do with the money. He will so bless you that you would be looking for projects to carry out for Him.
It all starts with having the Kingdom on your mind and making yourself available to be a channel for Kingdom expansion. David was such a man. He had the Kingdom so much on his mind that when he became king, he did not see it as a personal accomplishment but a Kingdom agenda (1 Ch 4:2). That is a dominant distinguishing trait of true leaders. I believe that was why even though God did not allow him to build the Temple, He put virtually all the resources needed for the building into the hands of David.
3. When you have a vision those who have what it takes to help you fulfil it will show up. In verse 5, Jesus declared the vision which was the feeding of the multitude, and in verses 8 and 9 the supply came. The provision comes in response to the vision. When there is a vision, especially a Kingdom vision, the supply needed to run it will inevitably appear. When Moses declared God’s direction to build the Tabernacle even though they were in the wilderness, everyone was under pressure to supply what was needed. Do not let what is required to run your vision deter you from engaging in it. Focus on the goal, and El Shaddai will ensure the supply.
Something else strikes me from these verses. Right among the people was the solution to the need. The five loaves and two fish did not come from abroad but from within them. Many times the answers to the challenges that confront us are not far from us. They are around us, and we only need to ask God to open our eyes to see them. Hagar was ready to leave her son Ishmael to die of thirst when there was a well of water around her all the time (Gen 21:15-19). It took God opening her eyes to see it and save her son. Do not die of frustration when around you are solutions. Ask Him to open your eyes to see them.
Watch out for the next piece of this series. In the meantime, start putting to practice the lessons learned here. See you soon.