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Summary: Jesus has called all believers to follow His example and serve all of those around us. Serving is one of the best ways to grow spiritually, and overcome boredom in the church.

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ONE SMALL BOY’S LUNCH

THE BIG IDEA: Jesus has called all believers to follow His example and serve all of those around us. Serving is one of the best ways to grow spiritually, and overcome boredom in the church.

KEY TEXT: “Whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Mark 3:43-45).

BACKGROUND TO THE STORY:

“After these things Jesus went over the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. Then a great multitude followed Him, because they saw His signs which He performed on those who were diseased.” (John 6:1-2).

• Introduction to Jesus – people followed Him because of “how God anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit… who went about doing good and healing people.” (Acts 10:38).

PARALLEL PASSAGES:

“And Jesus, when He came out, saw a great multitude and was moved with compassion for them, because they were like sheep not having a shepherd. So He began to teach them many things” (Mark 6:34).

“And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick. When it was evening, His disciples came to Him, saying, "This is a deserted place, and the hour is already late. Send the multitudes away, that they may go into the villages and buy themselves food.” (Matt. 14:14-15).

• See the contrast between Jesus and His disciples: Jesus had compassion for the people and taught them and healed them, the disciples said, “Send them away.”

• QUOTE: Ghandi said, “I like your Christ, but I don’t like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ.”

THE BEGINNING OF THE STORY:

“3 And Jesus went up on the mountain, and there He sat with His disciples. 4 Now the Passover, a feast of the Jews, was near. 5 Then Jesus lifted up His eyes, and seeing a great multitude coming toward Him, He said to Philip, "Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?" 6 But this He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do. 7 Philip answered Him, "Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little.” (John 6:3-7).

• Note – this story starts out with Jesus testing one of His disciples, Philip.

• What did Jesus want Philip to do? Meet the needs of the people. They were hungry!

• Philip failed the test! What was his response? “We can’t!”

• As Christians, Jesus wants us to have compassion on people, and meet the needs of people around us. But too many Christians have excuses, just like Philip did:

FOUR EXCUSES FOR NOT FULFILLING GOD’S COMMAND TO SERVE:

1. “I can’t. I’m not qualified.”

2. “I’m too busy.”

3. “It’s not my calling.”

4. “I don’t want to.”

FOUR RESPONSES FROM GOD’S WORD TO PEOPLE’S EXCUSES:

1. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phil. 4:13). God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualified the called. Moses said the same thing when God called Him, but God said GO! Plus – we’ll give you on-the-job-training if you need it.

2. You’re busy doing what? “Make the most of every opportunity for doing good in these evil days.” (Eph. 5:16). Are you busy loving and serving people?

3. We’re all called to serve, and serving involves sacrifice. “Follow God’s example in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love for others, following the example of Christ, who loved you and gave himself as a sacrifice to take away your sins. And God was pleased, because that sacrifice was like sweet perfume to him.” (Eph. 5:1-2). “Find a need and fill it.”

4. You need an attitude adjustment! “Don’t be selfish; don’t live to make a good impression on others… Don’t think only about your own affairs, but be interested in others, too, and what they are doing. Your attitude should be the same that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not demand and cling to his rights as God. He made himself nothing; he took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form.” (Phil. 2:3-7).

THE END OF THE STORY:

“8 One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Him, 9 "There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?” (John 6:8-9).

• Andrew’s response was a little better than Philip’s, though still a little shaky!

“10 Then Jesus said, "Make the people sit down." Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. 11 And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted. 12 So when they were filled, He said to His disciples, "Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost." 13 Therefore they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten. 14 Then those men, when they had seen the sign that Jesus did, said, "This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.” (John 6:10-14).

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