Summary: The miracle of feeding the 5,000 underlines God’s grace as he provides for all our needs.
Prioritize. That’s what we’re all instructed to do in this busy world. As we make our lifestyles more convenient, the more demands we place on ourselves, and we find our lives become more frantic. So, we are called to prioritize – to convert our activities into a sort of Top 10 list -- picking what’s most important to get done first. That’s so hard to do because we get inundated with distraction. It’s hard to prioritize because everything seems so important, but we know we can’t do everything. And so the vicious cycle begins.
It seems funny to us that our Savior would be concerned with such things, but he is. Our Savior prioritized. JESUS PUTS FIRST THINGS FIRST! This is a valuable truth to know 1) When the Grocery List of Life Gets Out of Hand, and, as we grow to 2) Trust the Savior of Life Has You in His Hand.
1) When the Grocery List of Life Gets Out of Hand
Have you ever gone shopping, and just couldn’t seem to find what you were looking for? Oh, you could find everything you didn’t need, but the things on your list were nowhere to be found. So, you began to get frustrated, and you lost sight of what was on your list because you didn’t know where to begin.
Life can seem like a grocery list that’s gotten out of control. We just can’t seem to put first things first. So many demands are made of us; so many expectations, so many dreams and aspirations, so many good intentions, that we become overwhelmed.
I have a celphone. Sometimes, I wish I didn’t. It’s too easy to be connected to others. It’s too easy for others to be connected to you. With all of this new technology comes the temptation to force ourselves on one another any time we want. Whether you’re in the store, eating at a restaurant, attending church, or driving down the road, people can get in touch with you for any and every reason. That might be the last thing you need at the moment.
We wonder why our lives are filled with so much stress and anxiety. It really isn’t any secret. We try to prioritize our lives one way, and then someone or something else comes along and pulls us out of focus. We get distracted. We get frustrated. We get stressed out. We get angry. We get depressed.
It’s at times like these we find ourselves turning to God and really don’t even know why. All we know is that we’re frazzled and stressed, and need some guidance. If you don’t think that happens, then take a look at the crowd of people in our text: “When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns.” Now, the news Jesus had just heard was that John the Baptist had been beheaded by King Herod. Not only that! Herod was convinced that Jesus was John the Baptist come back from the dead. Jesus had to put first things first. He had to prioritize. Jesus knew John’s death meant that his own suffering and death was close at hand. Jesus also knew that Herod was a madman and that he might hunt him down, so he put first things first. He gathered up his disciples, and headed out to a private location. He needed time to be with his disciples so that he could teach them more about his Father’s plan of salvation.
Jesus’ disciples finally docked their boat and they disembarked. To Jesus’ surprise, a huge crowd was already waiting for him. Many of them were there because they were impressed with Jesus’ miracles. They were hoping Jesus might be someone special. And all of those people brought their own personal grocery lists. Each one had a list of expectations, a list of burdens, a list of worries and concerns, and each one wanted Jesus to help sort it all out.
Again, we notice how Jesus put first things first: “When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.” In spite of his need for rest and in spite of the crowd’s mostly materialistic reasons for coming to him, Jesus doesn’t turn his back on them. That’s because he prioritized their every need. Jesus identified their great spiritual need for him. He not only healed their sick, but Luke tells us in his account that Jesus actually welcomed the crowd and spoke to them about the kingdom of God.
What an all-sufficient Savior we have! He knows how to put first things first in our lives, even when we don’t have a clue. He prioritizes that out-of-control grocery list called “life.” He touches us with his compassion and leads us to realize that’s what needs to be first in our lives.