When Jesus asked the disciples to “feed the people“, the disciples only saw the problems this request created for them personally. Their problem was not with the dilemma Jesus presented, but with the way they processed the God sized opportunity. They had not yet grabbed onto the fact that Jesus was inviting them to join Him in His work. They thought they had to accomplish this task in their own power and with their current resources. They were thinking, “We can’t do this. It’s impossible!” But remember, Jesus already had in mind what He was going to do. (John 6:6)
We often forget when God speaks, He always reveals what He is going to do…. not what He wants us to do. We join Him so He can work through us. We don’t join the Lord’s work so that we are personally the answer. This is why Jesus said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” (Mark 10:27)
The disciples had already seen Jesus do marvelous works all in supernatural ways. But now, when opportunity knocked, it didn’t even enter into their minds that maybe, just maybe, God wanted to do something miraculously and supernaturally through them. Do these types of thoughts ever enter in your thinking? I have to admit when God calls me into some activity, most of my thoughts are about me… not what the Lord wants to do.
Now if the disciples pooled all their money and passed the hat among the crowd that day, they may have had enough money to buy some food for at least a portion of the people. In so doing, those who were provided for could say, “ Aren’t the disciples devoted and committed followers of Jesus. What a kind and wonderful ministry these men did for us. They are so nice.” However, none of those people would have explained it in terms of what God had done. The disciples would have accomplished it completely separate of God’s intervention.
However, the Lord isn’t interested in just feeding people’s bellies for a day. He wants to feed their souls and spirits for eternity. The only way a crowd of 5,000 will be able to know “God was at work” through the disciples was for them to allow Jesus to operate in a supernatural way which far exceeded the disciple’s power or resources.