(Mark 6:30-44 ESV)
So they took a boat and head off for some R & R. BUT, folks recognized, saw where they were going and said "hey, I'm going to go meet them"!
Now.. Jesus could have gotten angry, he could have turned and left, he could have done a whole lot of things but what he did was this. He had compassion. Simple utter compassion. These sheep, needing someone to lead them and care for them.
Therefore, despite the need to rest, he took time with them, teaching them many things.
The disciples noticed that it was getting late and also caring for the people wanted them to be able to go and get a meal while it was safe to do so.. after all they were in a fairly desolate place. So they came and brought this fact to the attention of Jesus, little expecting his response. "So... feed them".
"What? How are we to do that? Shall we go shopping for food?" At least that's how their response seems to me when they say "shall we go and buy 200 denarii worth of bread and give it to them to eat?" I can almost hear the shock in their voices. When I grew up I was taught they did this because they were tired and frustrated....but I don't see that in this passage. All I see if them saying "Lord, the hour is late, these folks need to eat".
Jesus didn't even answer that question. He merely asked... find out how much food you have available. They came back five loaves, two fish. He taught them to be shepherds, to care for all the needs of the people in their care.
Jesus then taught the disciples, showing them what faith can do with so little. He thanked God for what they had and simply started feeding the people.
Faith + prayer = amazing things.
In fact, that so little gave them so much! 5000 men with their families... fed. Fed well enough they had 12 baskets of food left over.
There is so much in this passage to see.
Jesus' compassion in the face of need.
Faith feeding so many people from so little.
Thankfulness for what we have.
Jesus recognizing the need of the disciples for rest, and then showing them, how we still work when there is need.
The need to be shepherds...to always care for the needs of the people in your care.
It's a hard calling you know... to be a shepherd. To care for the people who have been given into your care.
Let us then resolve to pray for our shepherds... to pray for them when they are tired and wanting to rest and have needs to meet in their congregations. For those missionaries out in the field needing time to just breathe and rest and people needing them. For the moms and dads with families to raise who just want to get away for a while...but their families need them. For those singles who are able to minister freely, but still need that time away, but there is so much need out there among the sheep. Let us pray for each other that the Lord's work indeed be done. Shall we not resolve to do this?
It's not just a simple story about five loaves and two fish. It's a story of how God works.