Summary: This is week three of our annual stewardship emphasis series. This week looking at what Jesus can do with our giving.
The Opportunity of Giving
It was a beautiful day. Christ had crossed over the sea of Galilee and the crowd discovering where he was going followed on foot, covering a distance of approximately 9 miles and Luke tells us in chapter 9:10 that they finally caught up with him in Bethsaida. And it was here on a hill overlooking the sea of Galilee that Christ began to teach the crowd, and after teaching his heart became filled with compassion as he looked around and realises that those who have gathered are probably hungry. Christ saw not only a spiritual need, but he saw the physical need as well.
Jesus was aware that if His preaching about love wasn’t evidenced in his behaviour then he would be regarded as a hypocrite and rightly so. And so as he looked around at the hungry crowd he didn’t say “They need Jesus” even though they did, instead he said, “They need lunch.”
Now there are three people that Christ interacts with during this story and we are going to look at all three of them this morning.
John 6:5 Jesus soon saw a huge crowd of people coming to look for him. Turning to Philip, he asked, “Where can we buy bread to feed all these people?”
The first person that Jesus checks with is Phillip the realist. Have you ever asked yourself why he asked Philip first. I mean other then the obvious answer, that Philip was right next to him. Here are a couple of suggestions. 1) This was Philip’s old stomping ground. We are told in the book of John 1:44 Philip was from Bethsaida, Andrew and Peter’s hometown.
And that makes sense, If you’re looking for a good cheap meal you ask a local. Right? They’re the ones who know where the best restaurants with the best prices are in this life. 2) Or maybe this was a faith check or an attitude check. Christ wanted to see how big Philip’s faith was at this point. And good old Philip the practical said, John 6:7 Philip replied, “Even if we worked for months, we wouldn’t have enough money to feed them!” Actually in the original he said that it would take 200 Denarri to fee the crowd, and a denarri was the equivalent of a days wages and so Phil was planning on feeding 25 people for a days wage, which might be a little tight but could work.
Now don’t give Philip a hard time, he was just responding to Christ’s question with a statement. But he didn’t answer the question which was “Philip, where can we buy bread to feed all these people?” Like he could have said, “Well you could try Saul’s deli or Aaron’s Bakery.” Instead he says, “Even if we were to go to McMalichi’s and everyone ordered a McBagel, regular fries and a diet coke, it would still cost 4 bucks a head boss.”
At this point Philip could not see beyond the present day, he couldn’t see beyond the cost. And that’s typical of how most of us thing when we are confronted with a new project. When we are confronted with a new project our gut reaction is usually “How much is this going to cost?” Can we afford it? Can we do it with what we have, or what we can raise?”
If I was to tell you that in an effort to continue to reach our community and help depopulate hell that we were immediately moving ahead with phase two of construction what would your first reaction be? “Cool” or “How in the world are we going to pay for that?”
When we first moved to Australia at one of our first church board meetings I quoted Mike Macintosh, a Pastor from San Diego California, who I had heard in a conference a couple of months previous. Macintosh said and I quote, “Money’s not a problem, because Money’s not an issue” profound right? In other words if it’s God’s will to do something then the funding is God’s problem. The problem was that from that point on whenever we needed to go ahead with a project if I was feeling the least bit cautious a guy on my board by the name of Nev Robbins would say “Denn remember; Money’s not a problem, because Money’s not an issue”
And Mike Macintosh and Nev Robbins were right because even though we may not be able to afford to do something God can. Philip should have remembered Psalm 50:10 For all the animals of the forest are mine, and I own the cattle on a thousand hills.
I mean think about it if nothing else they could have had a dandy BBQ. Philip was a pessimistic realist. He was one of those guys who saw a problem in every solution. He’d blow out the candle just to prove how dark the room really was.