The other night I was playing Bible Trivia with my oldest son. What else did you expect from a pastor, LOL. When we play it’s always heated and close. When someone misses a question they have to look up the answer in the Bible and read it out loud. I missed a question and had to look it up. Some pastor, huh? I had to look up Luke 9:1-18 about Jesus feeding the five thousand. That’s when it hit me, not so much the miracle, yes that’s impressive, but the people. There were about 5 things the people did to receive the miracle they needed. These five things I’ve seen work in my own life as well and I want to share them with you.What are those five things the people did to receive their miracle?
1. Remote Place
The first thing we notice in verse twelve is that the crowd was some place remote. How do we know this? Because the disciples asked Jesus to send them into the countryside or surrounding villages to get food. You don’t send people into a village or countryside to get food if you’re not far way from those places. Here’s how this has applied in my life and it likely applies to your life as well. It’s been said that boredom is the mother of creativity. When we feel isolated we begin to question things. In fact, I tend to be the most bored when I’m isolated. You ever feel isolated in your job? Your family? Isolated around your friends? You eventually get to a place where something has to change. That’s where we see the disciples and the crowd. They’ve been sitting there all day in a remote place and now they’re hungry. Something has to change. You may even know what needs to change but you’re not sure how to get it done! You might be wondering if anything will change. You might be wondering, like those people, “How long am I going to have to sit here?” It’s this frustration the fuels the fire of hunger for change. Without this we would never experience the miracle. Sometimes we have to get to the remote places to fuel the fire for change. Don’t neglect nor belittle those places. It’s in these places where we learn about ourselves and others. Which leads us to point two.
Why did these people go to a remote place? To learn from a Jewish Rabbi or teacher. To pick up from point number one, if we are going to learn about ourselves and/or learn from another who’s more knowledgable, we’re going to have to get to away. We’re going to have to go to a remote place to isolate ourselves. That remote place might be a weekend conference or it might be shutting the bathroom door and locking out the kids for your session with your life coach. The purpose for the isolation is to learn and grow ourselves. If you’re going to do or be anything better or different than what you’re doing or being currently, you’re going to have to learn. One of the ways you’re going to have to grow and learn is also learning about yourself. Which leads us to the next step.
In verse sixteen Jesus tells his disciples to have everyone sit in groups of fifty. The disciples did that and rather than complain about why there’s no food. Or grumble because they had to do something which made no sense to solve their hunger problem, they did what was necessary. In the obedience Jesus was preparing them for the miracle. God wants to bless you with your miracle but first you must be in a position of preparation. When we are prepared we’re telling God, “I’m preparing myself to be ready for You.” If you invite someone over to your house for dinner you want your house you want to prepare for them. You want to get ready. Obedience is preparation.
After they obeyed God provided. They were able to take the bread and use it. Here’s our problem, we don’t like to “take” at least not knowingly. We want to say, “No, it’s Ok you can have it.” Or “I don’t want to be selfish.” But the truth is, all of us need to take our gifts and talents and use them. Take what God has given you, own it. You know how else you can obey God and see your miracle? How has he gifted you? That’s right. What are you natural desires, gifts, and talents? One of the ways we obey God is by obeying how He’s wired us. Own those abilities and obey God in them. Day in and day out sharpen those skills. Just like the people took the bread and ate. Take your gifts and partake of the rewards they bring.
The passage goes on to say that they passed the bread. Not only did they take what was given them but they also passed it around for others. Use your gifts, talents and abilities as a gift to others. Serve, serve, and serve more. Proverbs 18:16 says that your gift will make a way for you. If you help make other peoples dream a reality yours will become a reality. So pass on what you have. When Jesus prayed, food didn’t suddenly appear. Here’s where the miracle happened, they took the bread and fish, passed them around and it never ran out. They couldn’t deplete the resource because they had positioned who they were at the feet of Jesus. Be encouraged to NOT GIVE UP!! Think about the people towards the back of the 5,000. How long did they have to wait to get the miracle food? Probably quite a while in comparison to those at the front. But had they walked away they would have never been able to tell their grandkids or friends how they were there and partook of the miracle. It might seem like a long time coming. It might seem like none of this is working but its the day in and day out to these five steps that reaps the reward. Your miracle will happen when you do the common sense day to day things, when you stay the course and don’t give up. Get to a REMOTE place, learn and grow. OBEY Jesus even when it doesn’t make sense and get organized and prepared. TAKE what He has given you, own it. PASS it on to others. It’s in this you will begin to see your miracle. No candle loses it’s light by lighting another.