Then Jesus went up on the mountain, and there He sat down with His disciples. Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was near. Therefore Jesus, lifting up His eyes and seeing that a large crowd was coming to Him, said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these may eat?” This He was saying to test [prove] him, for He Himself knew what He was intending to do. Philip answered Him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, for everyone to receive a little.” John 6:3-7
Jesus and His disciples had retreated to the mountain after they received the news that John the Baptist had been beheaded.
When I heard that Pastor Chuck Smith had gone to be with the Lord, I was on my way to work. I had meetings to attend, phone calls to make, and talking points to write. As I drove, I remembered our time in Israel with Pastor Chuck, the times at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, and the changes in my life as a result of Pastor Chuck’s influence. When I got to the office, I shut my door to pray, grieve, and remember. I thanked God for Papa Pastor Chuck, opened my door, and attended to the needs of the day.
There was Jesus with His disciples, perhaps remembering the good that John the Baptist had done, grieving, and thanking God. Then, Jesus looked up, saw a need and taught the disciples how to attend to the need in a seven-step process:
1. Possibility: Where’s the opportunity to fill the need?
Jesus asked Phillip, Where are we to buy bread, so that these may eat?”
2. Recognize: Acknowledge our limitations.
Philip answered Him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, for everyone to receive a little.”
3. Surrender: It’s not much, Jesus, but this is what we have.
Andrew came to Jesus and said, “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are these for so many people?”
4. Obey: Take the next step even if you don’t know what Jesus will do.
Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand.
5. Observe: Watch Jesus at work.
Jesus then took the loaves, and having given thanks, He distributed to those who were seated; likewise also of the fish as much as they wanted.
6. Gather: Preserve the miraculous increase.
When they were filled, He *said to His disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments so that nothing will be lost.”
7. Reflect: Ponder the lesson in the miracle.
“Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘HE GAVE THEM BREAD OUT OF HEAVEN TO EAT.’ … Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst. John 6:31-35
After the miracle, Jesus departed to the mountain alone, and the disciples left by boat. They retreated.
After a long day at work, I enjoyed remembering Papa Pastor Chuck with my husband, Keith.
There is a time of retreat and a time of ministering. Sometimes rest is interrupted by need.
My prayer for you:
Father, empower us to recognize the process and possibilities open to us as we allow You to work in this world. May we surrender all that we have to You, so that You can multiply it beyond our imagination. Bring us to that retreat with You and teach us the lesson of taking in Manna from heaven. We praise You, Father, for Your goodness and holiness.