The account of Jesus feeding the five thousand is recorded in all four gospels. This event in history is a lesson to us today that even though God does not need us, He does use us as His instruments on the earth. There is really nothing that we are qualified or deserving of doing for Jesus. However, God desires that we serve Him and that we give of ourselves to Him. Often times, even the smallest of gifts can lead to an amazing miracle.
The Problem. The problem here is the fact that there are more than five thousand people who need to be feed. They have been listening to Jesus teach all day and now they are hungry. This problem was related to the time of day. In our text in Luke 9:12, we find that the day was coming to an end. The people had been there all day and it was now evening time; the time when many would normally be home for supper. In a sense, we are living at the end of the day today. As each second ticks off the clock we are that much closer to eternity. The signs of the times are all around us, Jesus is coming soon. We do not have a lot of time left to serve the Lord and to win people to Jesus. We are living in the last of the last days. All the pieces of the puzzle are in place. There is nothing else that has to happen before Jesus returns. His return is upon us. The day is far spent. We are in the evening of history. If we are going to serve God, we better do it now. If we are going to do great things for God, we better do it now. If we are going to have a concentrated effort to bring the Gospel to the world, we better do it now. This is no time for laziness. Now is the time. This problem was also related to the place. In verse 10 it tells us that they were in a deserted place. There was nothing around them. They were in the middle of nowhere. There were no resources that they could use. The problem that we have today also has to do with the place where we live. A recent study found that the state of Maine is one of the least churched states in America. Very few people go to any church of any kind. The number of those who attend Bible preaching churches is very slim. The numbers of those who are truly born-again are even smaller than that. Bible preaching churches in the state of Maine are few and far between. There are also very few if any ministries that are having a strong impact and influence that will change the course of our society. Christian schools are few in number and the ones we have are small and struggling. There are no Christians Children’s Homes where struggling families can send their children to grow up in a Christian home and be provided the counseling and help they need to make their family stronger. Whether we like to admit it or not, we live in a very spiritually deserted place. The question is, what are we going to do about it? Are we just going to cater to our own comforts or will we roll up our sleeves and do the work that needs to be done? The problem is also related to the number of people. There were five thousand people that day that needed to be taken care of. We have the same problem today. There are approximately 39,708 people that live in our county. Only 8.6% of the population of Knox County are considered as evangelical. Only 9.1% of the population of the entire state of Maine are evangelical. What do we consider as evangelical? It is those who believe in and preach the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Not all those who claim to be evangelical are truly born again Christians. Do you see the need? Of the 39,708 that live in Knox County, a good conservative estimate would be that less than 3,000 people are born again Christians. Church, we have work to do. We do not have the luxury of catering to our own comfort and our own needs. There are thousands of people all around us that are on their way to hell. While people are going to hell we are concerned about keeping our heritage. While people are going to hell we are comfortable where we are and we dare not do anything new. We dare not spend any money on building new ministries and new space for ministry, but yet, people all around us are going to hell. When will we wake up? When will we realize that is not all about us? The harvest is plenteous. The harvest is ripe and ready. We just need to go and do what God has commanded us to do.
The Possibilities. Now that we understand the problem, we must examine the possibilities. How can we feed the five thousand? How can we make a difference? In John 6:7-9 we see the calculations of the disciples. It is interesting that the first thing the disciple saw was the cost. Philip responds by saying that two hundred denarii are not enough to buy food for all these people. Basically, the conclusion of the disciples was that it just costs too much. Does this sound familiar? How often do we see a need but our reaction is that it’s too expensive? The first thing we are concerned with is money. We want to know how much it will cost. Money may not even be the issue. Sometimes we will ask, what does this mean for me? How will this affect me? Notice the compassion of Jesus. Matthew says that when Jesus saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion. Have you ever gone to town and sat down on a bench and watch all the people go by? Do you ever wonder how many of those people are going to heaven and how many are going to hell? When you see the numbers of young people in our schools who know nothing of the Bible or the gospel, does that not bother you? When you see the broken homes, the hurting families, the drug addicts, does it not bother you? When we think of the hundreds of thousands living in the state of Maine that do not know Jesus, does it not drive us to our knees? Not only do we see the compassion of Jesus, but also the command of Jesus. As Jesus saw that the disciples lacked the compassion to do anything, Jesus took charge. He took the five loaves and the two fishes and He blessed it and gave food to all those people. There is a lesson to be learned here. One is that Jesus actually did something. He did not just examine the situation. He did something about it. How often do we make excuses and never do anything? We like to talk and make plans but we never actually do anything to address the need. Another lesson we learn here is that Jesus can use the smallest of things to do the miraculous. He does not need a lot of money. He does not need a lot of educated people. He does not need a lot of able people. He just needs a willing people. Our church for the most part is a small church. The sad thing is that we are actually one of the largest churches in our immediate area but yet we only have around 80 people on average. We may look at the need in our state and say, what can little Spruce Head Community Church do? We are too small. I believe that God wants to use the little things to confound the wise. He wants to take a small church like Spruce Head and do the miraculous. I believe that God is raising us up to be the tool that He uses to turn this state around for the glory of God. The question is, are we willing? Are we willing to get out of our comfort zones? Are we willing to do things that have never been done before? Will we partner with our local Christian schools to make them stronger? Will we seek to start Christian Children’s Homes to help heal broken families? Will we partner with other ministries to reach the young people with the Gospel? Will we feed the hungry? Will we provide shelter for the homeless? Will we seek to expand our ministry capabilities through building or purchasing more adequate facilities? Will we do what it takes? Will we allow God to use us?
The Potential. I believe that there is nothing impossible with God. Our wildest dreams do not even compare to what God has in store. When it comes to looking at our potential, there are three questions to consider. What do you have? You may say that you do not have a lot. But, look what Jesus did with just five loaves of bread and two fishes! God has given you talents, resources, dreams, and spiritual gifts. Will you give those things to the Lord? Will you say, Here I am, use me? Another question to consider is: Have you asked God to bless what you have? God can do the miraculous with just a little. Instead of complaining and thinking the task is too great, just ask God to bless what you do have. Think of our church. Look at the potential we have. Are we asking God to bless the ministries of this church? Are we asking Him to multiply us? Look at the Sunday School ministry, children’s ministry, youth ministry, and the list goes on. The potential here is amazing. Are we seeking God’s blessing for our church? A third and final question to consider is: Are you willing for God to use it? Are you willing to let God do His thing with your life? I am afraid that this is where we so often mess up. We know God has blessed us, we know the potential is great, but we really don’t want God to do anything. We are afraid of change and growth. We are afraid to go to the next level. If we would be willing to surrender all to Jesus and allow God to use what He has blessed us with the way He sees fit, the things God would do would be beyond anything we could ever imagine. God can use Spruce Head Community Church to lead the way to bring revival and change to the state of Maine, if we would allow Him to. The more we surrender, the more God will work. How much are we willing to surrender? Will you let God use you? Will we let God use our church?