An Abundant Ministry: Part 3 – A Command Is Given

An Abundant Ministry:
Part 3 – A Command Is Given

“But he said to them, ‘You give them something to eat.’ They said, ‘We have no more than five loaves and two fish – unless we are to go and buy food for all these people.’” –Luke 9:13
 Early this year, the Session at Christ Presbyterian Church announced the creation of a Building Fund for the purpose of adding on to our existing facilities. Two weeks ago, I began writing a series of articles to explain the rationale behind our need for expansion. We’ve been looking at CPC’s situation through the lens of Jesus’s Feeding of the 5000 – and we’ll continue looking at it through that lens today.

So far, we’ve seen the crowds gather as Jesus’s ministry grows and we’ve watched the disciples growing dismay at their inability to meet the needs of those crowds. Let’s pick up where we left off.

The disciples have made clear to Jesus (as if he wasn’t aware) that the people need food and shelter. They have also proposed a solution – without bothering to ask Jesus if he had any other ideas. What was their best idea? “Send the crowd away.”

But, as we read in Luke 9:13, Jesus does have another idea. He doesn’t suggest that idea to the disciples. He gives it to them in the form of a command: “you give them something to eat.” In other words, Jesus is not caught off guard or surprised by the crowd that has gathered. Nor is he surprised by the lack of resources his disciples have to meet that need. He had planned this all along. It was Jesus who drew the crowd there – needs and all. And it was Jesus who placed his disciples there – scare resources and all.

2000 years later, we find ourselves in a similar situation here at CPC. A crowd has gathered – and they’ve brought their needs with them. But they aren’t here by accident. They’re here because Jesus has drawn them here. Neither is CPC here by accident. We’re here because Jesus has placed us here – scarce resources and all.

Just as Jesus issued a command to his disciples that day outside Bethsaida – so he has issued a command to us in Daphne. The command is the same: “you give them something to eat.” You – the staff and membership of CPC –you feed your community the Bread of Life.

I imagine the disciples in Jesus’s day were confused by this command. They had never imagined that they might be the ones Jesus worked through to meet the crowd’s needs. They had planned to send the people elsewhere. But Jesus had other plans.

Would you join me this week in confessing our limited vision? Like the disciples, we so often go to God and say, “Here is the problem and here are your options for fixing it.” We never even consider that God may have another way. And we certainly never consider that he may use us to solve the very problem we have brought to his attention.

Your Pastor and Friend,
John Knox Foster

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