Summary: The Lord molds and tests our faith, so He can use us.
Philip: Eight Months Wages
Primary Purpose: God molds our faith, so that He can work through us.
Years ago, I was a member of a church that had a group called the "Power Team" come. They are a group of very strong men who do acts of great strength and they also share a good message. It is amazing what they can do. Some people can walk on hot coals and not get their feet burned. Others have learned other amazing skills of balance and strength. I heard a story once of a tightrope walker. There was a tightrope walker, who did incredible aerial feats. He
could go across a tightrope blindfold and he even pushed a wheelbarrow
across a tightrope blindfold. An American promoter heard about him and
sent him a letter. He made him an offer to pay him a substantial amount of
money to come to America and do his act over Niagara Falls.
The tightrope walker wrote back “Sir, although I’ve never been to America
and seen the Falls, I’d love to come.”
“Well, after a lot of promotion and settign the whole things up, many people
came to see the event. Tightrope started on the Canadian side and came to
the American side. The tightrope walker made it easily to the great approval
of the crowd. He came to the promoter and said, “Well, Mr.Promoter, now
do you believe that I can do it?”
“Well, of course I do. I just saw you do it.”
“No,” said Tightrope, “do you really believe I can do it?”
“Well, of course I do, you just did it.”
“No, no, no,” said Tightrope, “do you believe I can do it?”
“Yes,” said Mr.Promoter, “I believe you can do it.”
“Good,” said Tightrope, “then you get in the wheelbarrow.”
The word “believe”, in Greek means “to live by.” This is a nice story. .
.makes you ask, how often do we say that we believe Christ can do it, but
refuse to get in the wheelbarrow?”
All of the disciples were men of faith. Except possibly Judas Iscariot.
Philip was a man of faith. But, like us, sometimes it was a weak faith. He
had a habit sometimes of getting out the calculator at the teachings of Jesus
and making comments like “It can’t be done.” or “We don’t have the ability
or resources to do that.” He was very practical in nature. Not that that is all
bad. It seems that Philip may have been in charge of obtaining food for the
group. He was already trying to figure out how to feed these people. He had
already calculated that it might take as much as 8 months wages to feed
everyone. That’s why in today’s passage, Jesus turns to him and asks him a
question. (Read Scripture)
It seems that the time with Jesus had increased Philip’s faith little. He
had seen Jesus heal people numerous times. He had seen Jesus do the
impossible. Yet, he completely took his eyes off Jesus and go them on his
problem. He did what a lot of us do sometimes. We get our eyes off our Master and on to our problems. He forgot the example of Abraham and Sarah.
The example of Abraham and Sarah- Genesis 18:9-15. God reveals to
Abraham that he will have a son. When Sarah laughs, the Lord rebukes her
saying, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” It wasn’t a laughter of joy. It
was a laughter of shock and disbelief. That’s why the Lord mildly rebukes
her. Why do you think the Lord didn’t answer their prayer until this point in their lives? He brought them to a place where they would need a miracle and then provided for them in a way that only God could gain the glory from it.
When it comes to faith we should remember.
1. The amount of faith we have is a indication of our closeness to the Lord.
When we realize how big and great God is our faith expands. Then our
usefulness for kingdom work increases. If Philip had bothered to look at Jesus. He would have noticed that Jesus wasn’t worried about where the food would come from. Jesus was filled with peace and confidence and was in total control. What Philip should have said is "I don’t know how your going to provide for them Lord, but I know you will." But, Philip apparently wasn’t looking at Jesus. He wasn’t walking by faith. Andrew had a little faith, clouded in doubt and God honored it. Aren’t you glad?
Mark 11:22-24 Jesus said, “Have faith in God, I tell you the truth, if anyone
says to this mountain, God throw yourself into the sea, and does not doubt in
his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.”