The first time I went to Haiti on assignment to develop a teaching/ministry plan for bringing college students into this culture, it was daunting. I didn’t know what I would face and need to know and understand. I knew some of the people, had seen pictures but to be there was beyond my thinking. After praying about this venture, I was excited and a bit nervous until I knew who I was going to be with in Haiti. I was with a leader who already knew what he was doing and knew the people I needed to meet. All fears dissipated as we traveled around this little country to plan a ministry with Haitians who became good friends. God put us together and led us with a plan that would change the hearts and minds of college students while providing help to the Haitian churches and schools.
Yes, indeed! It was helpful and assuring to be with people who already knew what they were doing. It was extremely helpful to realize God already knew what He was going to do in us, in Jesus Name, for His glory!
After many mission trips with students, I came to realize these truths about God:
- God is always at work.
- God loves to bring us into His work to grow and stretch us beyond current abilities and thinking.
- God goes before us. He already knows what He is going to do in us and through us.
- God knows our doubts and fears along with our mess-ups and missteps. Our assurance is knowing “…that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
- God teaches us and builds our faith in our failures and successes when we say yes to His work invitation. Failure is just another way to learn.
- God will give us all we need to do what He has asked us to be and do. He puts the right people in the right place. He supplies all we need. He provides and protects in the work. Those who have said yes can testify to this Truth about God!
- He already knows what joining Him and doing what He says will do in our lives.
I also came to realize over the years since this short-term missionary work that all of life is a mission. We are all called to help others find and follow Jesus daily. And that’s not all, God equips who He calls! Bonus!
In our passage today Jesus already knew He would feed thousands with a few fish and small loaves of bread. He already knew that His disciples would wrestle with world logic versus the power of God. He knew the outcomes of this feeding miracle as they collected 12 baskets of leftovers—one basket for each of the Twelve. Coincidence? I don’t think so.
Jesus also knew there would be a skirmish on the sea on route to Capernaum where many needed to know God. Jesus also knew that He would use His “walking on the sea” opportunity to prove to His disciples that He was in control. That had to be great fun for Jesus, as well! Seriously, Jesus is the Son of God, who was with the Creator when the seas and land were separated to form earth! I love Jesus! What a sense of humor!
Jesus also knew the hearts who longed to be near Him because of their love for Him and those who just wanted another free meal. Jesus knows our hearts today.
PAUSE TO PRAY
Ask God what He sees in our hearts. Then hear His response. If repentance is necessary then do it so His voice is heard with clarity above all other voices. Then follow Jesus, wherever His Holy Spirit asks us to go, what to say and do. Say yes to the One and Only who already knows.
John 6:1-26, The Message
Bread and Fish for All
After this, Jesus went across the Sea of Galilee (some call it Tiberias). A huge crowd followed him, attracted by the miracles they had seen him do among the sick. When he got to the other side, he climbed a hill and sat down, surrounded by his disciples. It was nearly time for the Feast of Passover, kept annually by the Jews.
5-6 When Jesus looked out and saw that a large crowd had arrived, he said to Philip, “Where can we buy bread to feed these people?” He said this to stretch Philip’s faith. He already knew what he was going to do.
7 Philip answered, “Two hundred silver pieces wouldn’t be enough to buy bread for each person to get a piece.”
8-9 One of the disciples—it was Andrew, brother to Simon Peter—said, “There’s a little boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But that’s a drop in the bucket for a crowd like this.”
10-11 Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” There was a nice carpet of green grass in this place. They sat down, about five thousand of them. Then Jesus took the bread and, having given thanks, gave it to those who were seated. He did the same with the fish. All ate as much as they wanted.
12-13 When the people had eaten their fill, he said to his disciples, “Gather the leftovers so nothing is wasted.” They went to work and filled twelve large baskets with leftovers from the five barley loaves.
14-15 The people realized that God was at work among them in what Jesus had just done. They said, “This is the Prophet for sure, God’s Prophet right here in Galilee!” Jesus saw that in their enthusiasm, they were about to grab him and make him king, so he slipped off and went back up the mountain to be by himself.
16-21 In the evening his disciples went down to the sea, got in the boat, and headed back across the water to Capernaum. It had grown quite dark and Jesus had not yet returned. A huge wind blew up, churning the sea. They were maybe three or four miles out when they saw Jesus walking on the sea, quite near the boat. They were scared senseless, but he reassured them, “It’s me. It’s all right. Don’t be afraid.” So they took him on board. In no time they reached land—the exact spot they were headed to.
22-24 The next day the crowd that was left behind realized that there had been only one boat, and that Jesus had not gotten into it with his disciples. They had seen them go off without him. By now boats from Tiberias had pulled up near where they had eaten the bread blessed by the Master. So when the crowd realized he was gone and wasn’t coming back, they piled into the Tiberias boats and headed for Capernaum, looking for Jesus.
25 When they found him back across the sea, they said, “Rabbi, when did you get here?”
26 Jesus answered, “You’ve come looking for me not because you saw God in my actions but because I fed you, filled your stomachs—and for free.
Yes! I say yes to you knowing that my yes will be blessed with times of growing and maturing that may be painful at times as I shed my ways of thinking to acquire your ways of thinking. Transform me to be all you know I can be. I’m not out for a free meal, Lord, just freedom from my sins. I know you and I know I am redeemed. Thank you, Lord!
In Jesus Name, Amen