Summary: Can God supply all your needs? The Disciples struggled with that idea... and so do many of us. Why do we have such a hard time trusting God in this and how can we learn to believe Him more?
OPEN: I once read the true story of a family that was sitting down at the dinner table for their evening meal. But one of the girls wasn’t happy because they were having leftovers, and she complained about it.
The dad was not happy about that and spent a few moments explaining to her that she needed to be more thankful for what she had. In order to make sure she understood his point, he decided that she should say grace and that her prayer should show her appreciation for what she had.
So she bowed her head and then prayed:
"Thank you for this food… again."
(Heather Marshall in R.Digest, 5/03)
ILLUS: I once read about a minister's wife who was a wonder at conserving food and she rarely threw any of it away. At one meal she gave her husband nothing but leftovers and he was obviously not enthusiastic about it. He began to pick at the food and ate a little… but had not said grace yet.
His wife smiled sweetly at him and gently said, "Dear, you forgot the blessing."
He looked over at her and said: "Sweetheart, if you can show me one item that hasn't been blessed at least two times, I can't see what another prayer can do for it."
In our story today we read about some leftovers. Mark 8:8 tells us that “the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.”
APPLY: Now ordinarily, leftovers are foods that’s been left over and you prepare them a 2nd time, and a 3rd time, and a 4th time…
What Jesus did in our story this morning… was a leftover. You see Jesus had done this food thing once before. If you back a couple chapters in Mark you see Jesus doing this food thing for another crowd.
Mark 6:34-38 tells us that
“When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.
By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples came to him. "This is a remote place," they said, "and it’s already very late. Send the people away so that they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat."
But he answered, "You give them something to eat."
They said to him, "That would take eight months of a man’s wages! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?"
"How many loaves do you have?" he asked. "Go and see."
When they found out, they said, "Five—and two fish."
One of the things I find interesting about our story today is that the Disciples hadn’t learned much from the first time Jesus did this. It’s almost identical down to the conversation Jesus has with them in our text today:
Jesus says: “If I send (the crowd) home hungry, they will collapse on the way, because some of them have come a long distance."
His disciples answered, "But where in this remote place can anyone get enough bread to feed them?"
"How many loaves do you have?" Jesus asked.
"Seven," they replied.”
Jesus is serving up leftovers.
He’d doing His food thing… a 2nd time.
Now if I’d been a disciple with Jesus that day, I’d HOPE I’d have said: “Hey Jesus, do that thing again with the food you did last time!”
But they didn’t, and so Jesus had to teach them the same lesson AGAIN. They had to learn the lesson all over again. It was kind of a “spiritual leftover” thing.
But wait, there’s more.
Jesus feeds 5000 people in Mark 6
Then He feeds 4000 people in Mark 8
And just a few verses after that we read something really odd in Mark 8:14-21. Jesus barely gets done feeding the 4000 then he gets into a boat with the 12.
“The disciples had forgotten to bring bread, except for one loaf they had with them in the boat.
‘Be careful,’ Jesus warned them. ‘Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.’
They discussed this with one another and said, ‘It is because we have no bread.’
Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked them: ‘Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember?
When I broke the 5 loaves for the 5000, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?’
‘Twelve,’ they replied.
‘And when I broke the 7 loaves for the 4000, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?’
They answered, ‘Seven.’