Summary: A little is always a lot in the hands of the Lord.
“How Many Loaves Do You Have?”
Rev. Brian Bill
Pastor Dick, Pastor Jeff and I meet each Tuesday afternoon to pray and to plan. Normally we meet in the Fellowship Hall but this time I had us get together in the two-year-old room upstairs. We gathered around the short tables and sat in the small chairs (Pastor Dick grabbed a big chair). When they asked why we were doing this I said something like this: “I want us to get a perspective of life through the eyes of a child.” We looked around and saw the mural on the wall, all the bright colors, and celebrated what takes place in that room through the ministry of PCS preschool, AWANA, and what is taught every Sunday morning.
I thought it might be helpful to get a child’s perspective on our passage today so I invite you to listen to this account as if I were eight-years-old (some of you are thinking that that’s not too much of a stretch). The encounter I want to tell you about is the only miracle recorded in all four gospels. If you want to follow along, I’m going to stick pretty closely to Mark’s account in Mark 6:30-44 with some additional insight from John 6.
I should warn you ahead of time that kids like me hear and remember everything you adults say. That reminds me of the young couple who invited their elderly pastor for Sunday dinner. While the parents were in the kitchen preparing the meal, the minister asked their young son what they were having. “Goat,” the little boy replied. “Goat?” replied the startled man of the cloth, “Are you sure about that?” “Yep,” said the youngster. “I heard Dad say to Mom, ‘Today is just as good as any to have the old goat for dinner.’”
Aren’t kids great? Turn to the person next to you and tell him or her one thing you love about kids. I spent most of my time helping my dad take care of some goats and some sheep but he often just let me wander around the area. I loved going down to the water and watching the fishermen pull in their fish but my favorite thing to do was to find a crowd and run into the middle of it to see what was going on. My parents said I was nosy; I think I was just curious. My dad had told me about a traveling teacher named Jesus and it seemed that everyone was talking about Him. When I heard that he was nearby I hurried to see if I could find Him. I was about to learn an amazing life-lesson: A little is always a lot in the hands of the Lord. Can you say it with me? A little is always a lot in the hands of the Lord.
This was a pretty tense time because word was spreading that John the Baptist had just been brutally executed. After a long hike I spotted Jesus and saw that his followers were gathered tightly around Him. Because I’m so small I was able to sneak up close and could hear them talk breathlessly about all that they had accomplished and all that they had taught while they were out on a short-term ministry trip. They were exhilarated and yet exhausted. They looked a little tense because crowds of people just kept coming closer to Jesus. I heard several of them comment about how hungry they were. Jesus then spoke tenderly to them: “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” Let me show you some pictures so you get a feel for where all this took place.
As they all gathered into a boat to head to their special retreat with the Master, the rest of us decided to run along the shoreline because we knew where they were headed. Jesus knew they were beat so they took a boat. We saw what was happening so we took off. The dust was flying everywhere. Every time we passed a town more people joined us.
Do you have that same sense of excitement and expectation when you come to church? Do you wait eagerly for the Word of God to be preached?
We arrived before they did. This reminds me of another statement recorded in Mark 9:15: “As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him.” That’s exactly how we felt! I have to tell you that these men looked very mad at us. They glared at us and tried to get us to leave but Jesus looked at each of us with compassion. The contrast was stunning. Jesus always seemed to have time for people and was genuinely concerned about how they were doing. Aren’t you glad that people were never a bother to Him? I hear your church is a lot like that – you care about lost and wandering sheep. I overheard Jesus say that we looked like sheep without a shepherd – I certainly knew how important a shepherd was to a group of sheep.