Summary: PENTECOST 11, YEAR A - God is able to provide all our needs


In his book, Just As I Am, Billy Graham writes of the following event.

"One summer while in New Jersey, I was having lunch at a roadside diner when I was greeted by a big, smiling man whose eyes grew large as he studied me. “Hallelujah!” he shouted, grabbing and pumping my hand. “What an answer to prayer! I was just sitting here praying that I might meet Billy Graham, and in you walk! I didn’t even know you were on the East Coast.” He introduced himself as Dr. Theodore Elsner, a preacher from Philadelphia. “I have a great burden on my heart,” he said. “It’s a message that I believe is from the Lord. Billy, you must go on national radio. You know Dr. Maier the great Lutheran theologian and radio preacher from St. Louis is dead, and you’re the man God could use to touch America through radio.” I did not know what to think. Dr. Elsner urged me to contact Fred Dienert, his son-in-law, and Walter Bennett, a Christian who was also a radio agent. Impressed though I was by this abrupt meeting, I did not look up either Mr. Dienert or Mr. Bennett; indeed, I pretty much forgot the whole idea. I was so busy that I could not imagine adding anything else to my plate. A few weeks later I was speaking at a conference in Michigan. Two well-dressed strangers approached me and introduced themselves as Fred Dienert and Water Bennett. I did not know whether Dr. Elsner had spoken with them since he had met me, but their mission was to interest me in a national radio program. I was still president of Northwestern schools, still active with Youth For

Christ, and spinning in a whirlwind of national interest in our evangelistic Crusades. I told Fred and Walter that I appreciated their interest but simply could not do a radio program at the time. My closet advisers - Cliff, Bev, and Grady- concurred; it was out of the question. Later, in Portland, these two extremely persistent men repeatedly lay in ambush to catch me. All they wanted, they claimed, was five minutes of my time. I got so irritated with their pestering that sometimes I took a back elevator to avoid them. I finally told Grady to let them know I was not interested in their scheme to get me into broadcasting. Leave me alone was my message.


have you ever felt like Billy Graham? Do you know what it is like to be overwhelmed with demands? Your job, surprisingly, is not 40 hours a week, it’s more like 64. And your kids want you to be there for them - to watch their games, to drive them to their activities, and to their friends, and to the mall. And your spouse is wondering if you’ll ever get around to fixing that dripping faucet, mowing the lawn, weeding the garden, cleaning the house... not to mention personal time. And then the weekend comes {Sigh} and especially Sunday morning (smile) and you think, “you know, I’m going to church - I need the break, I need the encouragement, I need the support. And the first thing you hear from the front is “we need volunteers... could you give us.. we need extra...fill in the blank! And as you stop to see some one you say “How are you?” And of all things they tell you?! They unload on you what a terrible week they’ve had, and how much they need this church service. And all you want to say is “GO AWAY!” Church draws us that way doesn’t it? Church draws people, all types of people and they bring along with them all of their needs. Financial needs, and emotional needs, marital problems and parenting concerns..., medical needs, and drug problems, and abuse. Where do you turn with your problems, where do you go?! Jesus has the annoying habit of saying “Come to me...” and they do! Right plop in front of your face!


That is what the disciples were experiencing in our passage this morning. According to Mark and Luke’s account Jesus and the disciples had crossed the lake to get away for a bit, to “Come away and rest.” And yet by the time they arrived there was a welcoming committee of needy people waiting on the shores. What did Jesus do? He stepped out and continued to minister continued to work and preach and heal. He continued to serve them. And his disciples kept pace with him all day, right past supper time. The disciples had been confronted by needs all day, but now they realized there were faced with a real, genuine, larger than life need. Well, not a need really, a problem A BIG PROBLEM. They were having a national convention and there was no convention center, no Perkins, no McDonalds, no Burger Messiah’s and no Pita Huts. People were hungry. 5000 men, plus their wives and children were at an outdoor evangelistic revival from dawn till dusk. And they were hungry. Something had to be done. And the disciples knew what it was. Send them away. They went up to Jesus and said: "Lord, it is late; send the crowds away to get some supper." Lord, seven hours is enough for any sermon. It’s time to call it quits. Tell the people goodnight and goodbye. Let them go away.

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