A few weeks ago, my good friend George Ortiz spoke for the first time at our church…George is an up and coming student pastor at Lakeside. He called me the night before and we talked about this very passage from which he did a great job speaking the next day.
From that message and our conversation, this is what I have learned…remember, this is the story where Jesus feeds 5000 people with 5 loves of barley and 2 fish…
“5When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, ‘Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?’ 6He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.
7Philip answered him, ‘Eight months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!’
8Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, 9’Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?’“
Can you imagine? These were people who walked with Jesus everyday. They heard his teaching. They saw his miracles. Assuming these events are somewhat chronological (most chapters start out with “some time later…” or something like that), we know that he changed water into wine in chapter 2…healed the official’s son in chapter 4…healed the man by the pool in chapter 5. They’ve seen him do things that challenge everything they’ve come to know and yet, in this moment, they can’t seem to figure out how in the world they’re going to get enough food for everyone. Remarkable.
See any parallels? Has God ever done anything miraculous in your life? Have you seen Him do the impossible? Have you then been amazed at your lack of faith the next time hardship comes? Why is it that some people seem to be so full of faith and others have such a lack of it? Is it simply because the “faithful” people have seen God do more? I don’t think so. I still think that in some respects, faith (as in, faith that God will bring you through a struggle) is a gift that some Christians have yet to receive.
Fortunately, as the passage suggests in the rest of the story, God still works in spite of my unbelief and allows me to praise him for it in the aftermath. His disciples didn’t have faith that day, but you know what? No one went home hungry.
My prayer is this…”God, help me to have faith in your power at times when there seems to be no way and thank you for your faithfulness in times that my faith is weak.”