Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Growing Big Faith - Personal Ministry - Part 1

Personal ministry allows us to experience God's power in our weakness.

Matthew 14:14-21  Jesus saw the huge crowd as He stepped from the boat, and He had compassion on them and healed their sick.  15  That evening the disciples came to Him and said, "This is a remote place, and it's already getting late. Send the crowds away so they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves."  16  But Jesus said, "That isn't necessary--you feed them."

17 "But we have only five loaves of bread and two fish!" they answered.  18  "Bring them here," He said.  19  Then He told the people to sit down on the grass. Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and blessed them. Then, breaking the loaves into pieces, He gave the bread to the disciples, who distributed it to the people.   

20  They all ate as much as they wanted, and afterward, the disciples picked up twelve baskets of leftovers.  21  About 5,000 men were fed that day, in addition to all the women and children!

At this point in Jesus ministry the crowds were getting out of control and Jesus wasn't able to have any down time. The people that were pressing at him trying to get something from him wouldn't even allow him some time away to mourn the death of his cousin John the Baptist. Jesus tried to get away from the crowds by taking a boat ride to a remote area East of the Sea of Galilee but as he arrived he realized that the crowds had followed him and he still wouldn't have any time to himself.

I wonder if he felt some frustration when he arrived and realized that he was still going to be bombarded with people selfishly requesting to be healed. I probably would have rolled my eyes and groaned but Jesus was moved with compassion and he continued to heal the sick and teach them.

As the day was coming to an end, the disciples saw that they were miles from any resources to eat dinner, there wasn't any way that they could provide this many people with food. The disciples looked through the crowd and found that the only food that anybody had with them was in a small lunch basket. Feeding the thousands that were there was completely impossible.

The disciples thought that the only thing to do was to send this crowd home but Jesus didn't see things the same way and instead of telling them good-bye Jesus told the disciples that they need to tell the people to have a seat. The disciples didn't want the crowd to sit down and they certainly didn't expect Jesus to tell them to do something impossible. Sometimes Jesus says something that doesn't make sense so when he said "you feed them" the disciples said "but Jesus this is all we have!"

Have you ever been out in the middle of nowhere with Jesus and you heard him tell you to do something impossible? We have all felt that internal nudge to do something, you see a need, you feel some tension inside, but just like the disciples you say "this is all I have."

What do you do when Jesus tells you to do something impossible? You tell God that there is no way that you have the resources or the skill set, you are not equipped, you are scared but God says "I don't care, bring what you have."

You may tell God, "I am not someone that meets that kind of need, I am somebody that prays for somebody to meet that need. I'm just a prayer warrior" But God says "I don't care, bring what you have."

The disciples did what they knew how to do trusting that God would do the rest. They stood there in front of Jesus and took a little bit of food from him, they turned around, faced the crowd and handed the food to somebody. They walked back to Jesus and somehow he had a little bit more food to hand them to pass out.

What is your initial response to being asked to serve? Have you felt that God was urging you to serve yet you refused because you felt unprepared or inadequate?

Your faith muscle gets flexed when you say yes to something that God is urging you to do despite the fact that you feel inadequate, scared, or lacking resources. Every major move of God is accomplished through somebody that feels inadequate, somebody whose faith muscle is being stretched, somebody that believes they can't do it apart from God

Are you willing to do what you know how to do so God can do what only God can do? If you do you will experience God in a brand new way but if you don't you will never know what God would have done through you.