In Luke 9:10-17, we have Luke’s account of Jesus feeding the “five” thousand. (I say it like “five” because that was just count of the men, when you add in woman and children you are talking like the “Feeding of the 10-15,000”).
As I transition to full time pastoral ministry, I’m finding more and more that I have to change the way I think about normal everyday stuff like time management (my idol of choice), to-do lists, and how to attack and resolve those “challenges” that come up daily.
This morning, what struck me in reading this account in Luke was how much I’m like the disciples – the situation is pretty well known – Jesus is teaching to a very large crowd, very far away from any Taco Bell’s or a good deli, people need to eat. Here’s where Mike comes in and says “Well, Jesus, that’s kinda not my problem. I brought my lunch. I’m prepared. If these people left the house without thinking of what they were going to eat, then DUH on them.” (Insert here some smug self-righteousness and a healthy dash of condescension)
Jesus responds – “Well, Mike. Their needs ARE YOUR problem.” (v13 – Ruel Translation)
Jesus doesn’t allow any room for selfish thinking – he calls the disciples to fix this situation. They resist of course “Really Jesus? And how, pray tell, are we to get food for upwards of 15,000 people. Not possible.” (Exposing another one of my self-exalting tendencies to shoot down these sorts of thoughts…)
It’s almost like the disciples forget who Jesus is sometimes. I mean, 10 verses ago he just raised a 12 year old girl from the DEAD, and now the disciples are doubting how he will feed people?
This is me in many ways – losing sight of who Jesus is and how he doesn’t fit into nice neat little categories and to do list of priority action items. Jesus is above everything, our calling is to recognize that and get on board with it, leaving our idols behind and submitting to how he will do things – which don’t always look like how we think they should. Like me and my friends the disciples, perhaps our ‘way of doing things’ gets a little too important. We follow a triune all powerful God – not a process.
In our recognition of who Jesus is, we must place him at the highest place in our lives. Later on in the same chapter Jesus speaks of this – in Luke 9:23 –
If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life would lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.