Has Jesus ever asked you to do something with no follow up explanation as to why He wants you to do it? Yep, same here. I don’t know about you, but my instinct to question or doubt Him is always a first response. Acting with the security of answers or guaranteed end results is much easier.
The story of Jesus feeding 5,000 people* with only five loaves of bread and two fish is a popular one (John 6:1-15, Matthew 14:13-21). There are many significant takeaways from this miracle, but there is a character who often slips through the cracks when we read or talk about it.
Prior to feeding the crowd, Jesus had everyone sit down. When explaining it from his point of view, Matthew tells us that “He [Jesus] directed the people to sit down on the grass” (Matthew 14:19). But John goes into a little more detail, specifying the way in which Jesus did this: “‘Tell everyone to sit down,’ Jesus said.” (John 6:10).
Can you imagine being on the receiving end of that command? To us, this detail seems tiny and insignificant at first glance, because we see the whole story. But I doubt it felt so small to the person charged with telling the people to sit. It was a task that entailed getting the attention of thousands of hungry people and instructing them to do something, without having anything to offer them except enough faith in His leader to do as He was told.
If Jesus had given me that command, my thought process would have probably looked something like this: Why would He ask me to do that? What is He going to do? I am just one person. What if they get mad at me? What if Jesus doesn’t really have anything planned? Speaking out in a small group of familiar people can be intimidating. But instructing a crowd of thousands, with no idea why I’m saying the things I’m saying? Yikes.
The concept of Jesus speaking through people and using them to convey His messages is one we are well aware of. Unfortunately, since He is not physically standing in front of us when He gives a command to speak or move on His behalf, it is often easy to dismiss it. If we are too consumed with ourselves and our circumstances, the back door that lets us shy away from doing what we are told seems very enticing. We have to establish security in the One behind the command in order for our faith to be strong enough to carry out His instructions even when they make no sense.
Four Things To Remember When Jesus Asks Us To Do Something:
1. It’s not just about us.
2. It is part of a bigger story that will show His power and character.
3. Our task is not the main show, but it gives us an opportunity to be a part of His main show.
4. When Jesus tells us to speak or move, our obedience is backed by His authority, which is greater than any circumstance or unknown outcome.
Imagine how sweet the affirmation of faith was to the person who told the crowd to sit. No doubt it blew the minds of everyone who saw the miraculous provision, but the thrill of faith-based security that comes after acting on that faith is unlike anything else.
Jesus doesn’t have to let us be a part of His work, but He does because He wants us to encounter His goodness and love firsthand. When we obey, we get to experience what it’s like to be a part of the winning team — Team Jesus.
*The greek term used in this story refers to only men, as is typical for ancient figures. The men alone numbered about 5,000. The total number present exceeded 5,000 (Matthew 14:21).
Article written by Becca Garvin
Becca was born and raised in the South. She is the oldest of four girls and loves her two "fur children" (70-pound dogs) very much. Becca is a blogger and a writer for various professional and nonprofit organizations, including NewSpring Church. She is also an Executive Search Consultant and serves as a Youth Ministry small group leader. You can connect with Becca on her blog at https://thisisredeemed.com/ or on Instagram.