Summary: It is often life’s inconveniences and discomforts that produce the greatest opportunities for grace!


Mark 6:30-44 {NIV}

Sermon #2 from the “Life on the Farm”

Sermon Point: It is often life’s inconveniences and discomforts that produce the greatest opportunities for grace!


We are beginning a sermon series today from Mark’s Gospel called “Life on the Farm.” It will focus on some of the basics of the Christian faith. Specifically, we will be looking at are some of the non-negotiables that define Biblical Christianity.


Not long after I arrived in Potsdam I made my way out to * Oil in Hopkinton. I just dropped in on Kevin one day. Now, I didn’t say anything to Kevin upon my arrival but there was something strange about * Oil … it stunk in there! It was really bad.

The truth was, * Oil didn’t stink at all. There are farms around his shop that were liquefying cow manure and the spraying it on the fields. The manure makes for good fertilizer to grow crops.

To many the manure is just waste – it has no value. The farmers however, knew it was filled with untapped potential.

Think about that as we read this Gospel story.


The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest."

So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 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 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."

Then Jesus directed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to set before the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish. The number of the men who had eaten was five thousand.

This is an interesting story and is “framed” in an interesting way in Mark’s Gospel. It comes on the end of the disciple’s first commissioned journey by Jesus. We looked at this last time in the sermon “Insights from Putting Up Hay”.

• It must be significant that Mark makes more of their return than he does their going.

• It is here we find the nature of real discipleship … it is not in their deeds but in their obedience to his requests and their returning to Him.

• The root of discipleship is attachment to Jesus. This is where the life comes from.

Don’t you just know the disciples were fatigued and Jesus’ invitation to come away and get some rest provided some refreshment? So they all pile in the boat and head out for some well-deserved R & R. But you read the story … you know what happened. But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them.

Manure is the oldest and most effective fertilizer known to man. As long as man has used domesticated animals and worked the soil, manure has been used to feed the soil and plants. Manure can return 70 percent of the nitrogen, 75 percent of the phosphorus and 80 percent of the potash that was taken from the soil to feed the animals. This is not a bad return if you consider a dairy cow produces 27,000 pounds of manure per year.

The value of manure was still understood when man moved to the city. It was gathered, piled outside city gates where all could share in its value. Without manure to place in the field, the nutrients and trace minerals in the soil would soon be depleted and the land would no longer support a commercial crop.

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