Summary: Never assess a difficulty in light of your own assets and whatever you transfer to God will be transformed by Him.
The Philip Philosophy and the Andrew Approach John 6: 1-13
This was the only miracle of Jesus, apart from His resurrection that all four gospels recorded (Mt. 14 Mk. 6; Lk. 9) I am sure you have read this passage before and have heard it preached, but I believe there is something new God wants you to hear today. A few points to consider about this miracle of the feeding of the five thousand:
1. Never Assess a Difficulty In The Light Of Your Own Assets
While God’s resources are infinite, never ending, unlimited, ours are finite and limited, they will not last forever, they can not last forever, they will eventually run out at some point. The point I am making here is that you should never examine a problem and then try to work it out based entirely on the resources you have at hand. When what you have at hand is insufficient to take care of your needs, what do you do?
Notice the question that Jesus asked in John 5:5: "Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?" He didn’t ask how shall we buy bread for them, not how much the food will cost, but where. He was only asking this to test the faith of Phillip, for the bible says, He already had a plan. (John 6:6) The response of Phillip and Andrew is typical of how many of us would have responded, and this I have termed the Philip Philosophy and the Andrew Approach. Andrew looked at the number of people to be fed, at the need to be met, and was overwhelmed. He then quickly compared this great need with the available food and concluded that nothing could be done about the problem.
For Phillip, it was about figures, about calculations, about mathematics. He said: "Eight months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!" In other words, if they worked for eight months the proceeds of their labour would still not be enough. Philip did not realise that it was not about works, but grace, that is was not about labour, but the favour of God! He didn’t realise the one who was asking him the question was the one who can make all things possible, the one who can covert nothing into something. Glory be to God.
Phillip was so sure of what could not be done that he lost sight of what could be done, in other words, he had no vision of what could be done. He and Andrew were so focused on what they didn’t have that they lost sight of what they had. They did not remember that they had a small amount of food, and above all, they had Jesus the great provider! Some of us are in the habit of doing this thinking, I am lacking in this area or that area, I am too short, I am too fat, I am this I am that, I am too old to go back to the university, I am too old to complete my college degree. If you think you are too old, remember how old Moses was when God chose him to lead His people out of captivity? He was 80. Remember that Caleb was 85 when he made himself available to go to battle in Hebron.
It is not about how old you are or how young you are. Jehoahaz and Jotham were 25 when at different times they became king at Judah; Jeroboam was 16 when he was made king and he ruled for 52 years, Pekah was 22 when he was crowned king of Judah, Hezekiah was just three years older when he was made king of Judah 25 and Manasseh was merely a 12 year old boy when he began to rule in Judah and the Bible says he ruled for 55 years. It really doesn’t matter how old or how young you are, the crucial question is: are you ready to be used by God? Are you ready to yield yourself and what you have to God?
In verse 9 of John 6, Simon said, "Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?" This boy had a meagre lunch; the loaves were more the size of pancakes than today’s full size loaf and the fish were probably like fish fingers, not the big tilapia variety many of us are used to.
One of the lessons Jesus was trying to teach us here is that when your resources are running low, learn to stop putting your trust in material provisions and learn to put it in God. The Phillip Philosophy says it is about numbers, but life is much more than numbers, it is trusting God not your resources for provisions. There was someone who calculated that the food Israelites eat between when they were liberated from Egypt and when they arrived at the Promised Land was about 12 million pounds (in weight) each day. Could they have been able to provide for themselves? No, it was God the great provider who made provisions for them and the same God is still able to meet you at your point of need.