Jump Starts Daily

Jump Start #3561

Jump Start # 3561

Mark 6:37 “But He answered them, ‘You give them something to eat!’ And they said to Him, ‘Shall we go and spend two hundred denarii on bread and give them something to eat?’”

  Life is often plagued with problems. They come at us without an announcement. Driving in this morning to the office, there was a wreck on the freeway. Miles of traffic inching very slowly. I had to make some adjustments to my schedule. Problems do that. Your child wakes us telling you that he doesn’t feel well. Adjustments have to be made. You get in your car and it won’t start. Adjustments have to be made. At work, the computers are down. Adjustments.

  In our passage, the feeding of the five thousand, it was getting late in the day. The disciples approached Jesus with a suggestion, send the crowd home. Let them feed themselves. Jesus had other ideas. This is where our verse comes from. You feed them.

  And, this quickly turned into two problems. First, we don’t have any food. All they could find was a poor boy’s snack. That was enough for that boy and no one else. Second, we don’t have enough money among us to go into a village and buy some food.

  Now, imagine if they did have enough money. The two hundred denarii, that our verse states, would be nearly a year’s income. Who carries that kind of money with them? And, even if they had that kind of money, it would take a while to go into the village. The text tells us that it was getting late. They didn’t have 24 hour convenient stores back then. And, how would twelve apostles carry the food to feed 5,000 to 10,000 people? They’d have to buy or rent a cart and some oxen. That would cut into the money needed to buy the food. Problems upon problems.

  It’s easy to find problems. Look around, you’ll see cobwebs in the corners, chipped paint, a scratch on the furniture, a leaky faucet, weeds in the garden, a stack of bills that need to be paid. And, that’s what our eyes see. When we look with our hearts, we see people who haven’t apologized. We notice prejudice and hatred. We hear gossip. We see members sleeping in church, or worse, some who don’t come at all. Problems upon problems.

  Our passage tells us something about problems:

  First, it’s easy to see the problem but to have no ideas as to what to do about them. The disciples saw a problem, the people need to eat. They were the ones who brought that up to Jesus. But they didn’t have any answers. Some people are problem solvers. The rest are problem finders. If something is wrong, they’ll be the first to tell you about it. Problem finders don’t have any answers. Their goal and mission in life is to point out what’s broken, what’s not working, what’s wrong and then have someone else fix it. Their work is done once they have identified the problem.

  Second, there are problems that only Jesus can fix. I was putting some Jump Start books together to mail the other day and the stapler ran out of staples. I didn’t drop to my knees and go to Heaven for help. Maybe I should have. I just walked down the hallway to the resource room and grabbed another bunch of staples. I could solve that one on my own.

  But what to do when a brother runs out of faith? I can’t go down to the resource room and grab another batch of faith for him. I can talk to him. I can share some verses with him. But, ultimately, he needs Jesus. He needs the Divine to heal his confused and broken spirit.

  And, this is a valuable lesson for us. We like to fix every problem. We like to believe that there is nothing that we cannot handle. We try and often we add to the problems because we are dealing with things beyond our knowledge and we do not have any solutions. There are things that only God can fix. We must recognize that.

  Third, much too often, as with these disciples from our verse today, the answer to the problem is right there among us. They had seen Jesus calm storms. They had seen Jesus providing a massive catch of fish. The blind were now seeing, because of Jesus. The lepers were cured. The lame walked. We don’t have food, but we have Jesus. If only their eyes could have seen that.

  If only my eyes can see that. I’m never truly alone, I have Jesus. I am never without help, I have Jesus. I am never in a place where no one understands, I have Jesus. Standing right there beside me is Jesus.

  When Jesus, from our verse today, said, “You give them something to eat,” they should have asked, “Jesus, will you help us?” And, that’s what I need to be asking to navigate through this world. Instead of seeing only problems and trying to solve things on my own, getting frustrated, stressed, worried and doubtful, “Jesus will you help me?”

  You can’t get around problems. But you sure don’t have to give up. Jesus, will you help me?