The next time you are running low on food and 5000 men show up for dinner with their wives and kids, you might want to review how Jesus showed His disciples to handle it (You can read it in Matthew 14:13-21). But most of us won’t ever be in that situation; is there anything in this episode for us? Anything that we can apply to life as we experience it, one ordinary day after another?
When preachers deal with this passage, their points typically go something like:
– “When Jesus gives you something impossible to do, He will make it possible.”
– “Don’t worry about what you don’t have; bring what you do have to Jesus and give it to Him”
Those are great principles and make compelling sermons, but how do they apply to us in our every day circumstances? Another way to ask that question is, “Can you think of any example in your own life where these principles were applied?” We all know stories of great missionaries who lived like this, but what about the rest of us “Joe the Plumber” kind of people?
The lessons that Jesus demonstrated that night, feeding 5000 families, were not simply for the disciples. All those people in the crowd were fed, too. Jesus was showing them something, too. But what?
As you ponder those questions, consider this: Jesus taught us, every day, as we pray, to ask God, for bread – daily bread. Enough for the day. In that prayer, Jesus was building on God’s training protocol for the Israelites, as they faced starvation in the desert. Each day, He provided just enough manna for their needs that day. No more, no less, except the day before the Sabbath. On that day He provided a double portion, so they could rest on the following day. “Give us today, our daily bread.”
As you face today, there is no way for you to know what the day holds, or how much “daily bread” you will need. But God does. Just before Jesus told us to pray, “give us today our daily bread,” He said:
“And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” (Matthew 6:7-8, NIV)
Maybe your daily bread today will include food for 5000. Maybe it will be strength and courage to make it through the day. He knows.