Scripture: Mark 8:1 In those days when there was again a great crowd without anything to eat, (Jesus) called his disciples and said to them, 2 “I have compassion for the crowd, because they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat. 3 If I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way—and some of them have come from a great distance.” 4 His disciples replied, “How can one feed these people with bread here in the desert?” 5 He asked them, “How many loaves do you have?” They said, “Seven.” 6 Then he ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground; and he took the seven loaves, and after giving thanks he broke them and gave them to his disciples to distribute; and they distributed them to the crowd. 7 They had also a few small fish; and after blessing them, he ordered that these too should be distributed. 8 They ate and were filled; and they took up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full. 9 Now there were about four thousand people. And he sent them away.
Observation: This is the second time such a situation has occurred. The first time there were five thousand men, not including women and children. Jesus took a few loaves of bread and a few fish, blessed them, broke them, and the crowd was fed – with lots leftover. I would think one would not soon forget such a miraculous experience. So here we are again with the same essential situation, but with four thousand instead of five thousand. One would think the disciples would know what to do. Instead, we see in v.4 “How can one feed these people with bread here in the desert?”
Application: I can’t be too hard on the disciples because I’m not so different. Many, many times the Lord has provided for me and my family when it didn’t appear there was enough. In fact, in most cases, the Lord has provided MORE than the minimum necessary. Yet, when scarcity hits, I can still forget how the Lord has provided in the past. I can find myself thinking, “What do we do now?”.
I expect there are any number of persons reading this blog post who are in a place of need – as we speak. While it’s normal to stress a bit under such circumstances, I believe today’s passage encourages us to stop and remember what the Lord has done in the past. As we reflect on his faithfulness through the years we will see our anxiety subside, our faith rise, and our hope restored. Be encouraged today sisters and brothers.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, it’s common for us to get nervous when we’re in need – despite the fact that you’ve demonstrated your faithfulness many times. Give us grace to recall your past acts of love, including your generous provision. And in so doing, replace fear with hope and confidence in you. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.