Man to Man - Going on to perfection: Challenges II
This is the second article that looks at two live incidents, not parables, in Jesus’ ministry, where He encourages His followers to grow in their faith by placing a challenge before them.
“Growing in our faith”, or “becoming more like Christ”, after all, should be the goal of every Christian. Wesley might use the term “going on to Christian perfection”, or “Sanctification”, to describe this process.
Last time, we looked at the rich young ruler, who desired to live a more Godly life, and how Jesus challenged him by pointing out the obstacle in his life that was preventing him from attaining his goal. I then suggested we allow Jesus to do the same with us.
This week, I’d like to look at the “feeding of the 5,000.” (Mt. 14:13-21; Mk. 6:30-44; Lk. 9:10-17; Jn. 6:1-13) This is a different kind of challenge, but it’s still about spiritual growth.
The Disciples, showing a sense of care and compassion that probably pleased Jesus, noted that the time was getting late and all the people would be getting hungry. And, since the stores would soon be closing, they should send the people away so they could get something to eat. Then Jesus issued His challenge: “You give them something to eat.”
I wish I could have seen the expression on their faces. Surely eyebrows shot up and mouths dropped open! “Lord, you’ve got to be kidding! Do you know how much money it would take for each person to get just one bite?” (My paraphrase)
Mark records that Jesus asked them to check and see what they had. After taking inventory, their total resources were five loaves and two fish! Hardly enough to feed 5,000+! But when they gave what they had to Jesus, in faith, He multiplied it to feed everybody – with leftovers!
Peter was a fisherman, not a preacher, yet God used him on Pentecost day to bring 3,000 souls out of the darkness and into the light.
We may not feed 5,000 or save 3,000 souls, but I believe God will take whatever resources we commit to Him, however meager they seem to us, and accomplish things for the Kingdom that will amaze us!
Is Jesus challenging you to accomplish a task that seems beyond your resources? Offer to Him what you have and see what He can do with it. All for Christ and His Church!