Compared to the mountain top with God, the world around us, those valleys and houses we are called to minister in(see my Mountain Top post for more on this), can seem desolate. But, here’s the Good News:
Jesus is found in the desolate places.
That is where He is feeding His people.
Now the day began to wear away, and the twelve came and said to him, “Send the crowd away to go into the surrounding villages and countryside to find lodging and get provisions, for we are here in a desolate place.” But he said to them, “You give them something to eat.” They said, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish—unless we are to go and buy food for all these people.” For there were about five thousand men. And he said to his disciples, “Have them sit down in groups of about fifty each.” And they did so, and had them all sit down. And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing over them. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. And they all ate and were satisfied. And what was left over was picked up, twelve baskets of broken pieces. – Luke 9:12-17 (ESV)
Do you know how I know that this story is significant? Besides the Resurrection, it is the ONLY miracle that is included in all 4 Gospels (Matthew 14, Mark 6, Luke 9, and John 6). Really. The only one. If Matthew, Mark, Luke, AND John all knew it was important, surely there is something important there for each of us too.
Before we get to what the Lord has shown ME, I just want to take a moment to tell you what I absolutely LOVE about the Word of God. It ALWAYS accomplishes what it was sent for ( Isaiah 55:11). So when you hear something in His Word, it is more than just a fun revelation. It has purpose, and that purpose WILL be accomplished. More than that, His Word can accomplish a MULTITUDE of things because it is active and alive (Hebrews 4:12). Each person that encounters it can hear fresh, new, revelation through the Holy Spirit, and carry that into the World to accomplish its purposes. It is radically cool how that works.
Just yesterday, as I had been immersing myself in this story, my husband sent me a link to a new Arthur Burk video. Guess what? He was talking about the Feeding of the 5000. BUT, that Living Word was telling Him it was a story of redemption. It was good stuff, but not at all what it was speaking to me. This is just a further confirmation of the fact that EVERY person in the body is needed. We were each created to hear in a specific way that accomplishes the Kingdom purposes He has laid out for OUR lives. When those purposes align with the purpose of others we encounter, we are blessed with confirmation of what WE have heard in His word. And so, we not only accomplish the purposes for our life when we release what we have heard, but we build each other up.
What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up. – 1 Corinthians 14:26 (ESV)
So, here is what the Lord has told ME about the Feeding of the 5000. I pray that it will build you up, fire you up, and send you running excitedly into the desolate places with Jesus!
Aside from the obvious coolness of turning 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish into a meal for more than 5000 (including 12 baskets of leftovers), I truly believe that this story, above all the rest, is a model of ministry with Jesus.
As I have been studying the story, these are the main points He has highlighted to me.
- Ministry with Jesus happens in the desolate places.
- Ministry with Jesus is REST!
- Ministry with Jesus sees and addresses the present need.
- Ministry with Jesus starts with what you have.
- Ministry with Jesus doesn’t take on everyone at once.
- Ministry with Jesus results in new provision.
When I started writing this, I had no idea the depth of these concepts the Lord wanted to reveal. When it went over 6 pages I knew I would have to break it up into several days worth of posts. So, I decided to post the details on one point per day over the next week. As I settled into that idea, I felt like the Lord wanted to put a bit of a study spin on this whole thing. I feel like my purpose is to start the thought process with you, and then let you continue it with Him. Because, really, He’s the one that has the most interesting things to say. All my good stuff comes from Him. And, I believe He has some good stuff just for you.
So…for today, read the story carefully in Matthew 14:13-21, Mark 6:30-34, Luke 9:10-17, or John 6:1-14. Or even better, read all four! Compare them, soak in them, and ask the Lord to what the story is saying about YOUR ministry with Him. I would LOVE to hear what He shows you. Please leave your thoughts, revelations, and general good stuff in the comments!