How Many Loaves Do You Have?

“How many loaves do you have?” He asked. “Go and see.” –Mark 6:38

There is this fascinating story about Jesus and His disciples in the Scriptures. The disciples had just come back from being sent out to do and teach all that they had seen Jesus do and teach. They were filled with excitement and couldn’t wait to tell Jesus all about what had happened. Jesus, on the other hand, had something else in mind, taking His disciples away by boat to find some much-needed rest. Yet before they could even step off the boat, the crowds hungry for Jesus met them on the shore. Jesus, filled with compassion for the people, began to teach, sharing with them the mysteries of the kingdom life.

The disciples, sensing the day coming to a close, approached Jesus. It was getting late. They asked, “What should we do about food for all these people?” It was a reasonable request. Yet, rather than give them an answer, Jesus took the conversation to a whole other level.

But he answered, “You give them something to eat.”

They said to him, “That would take almost a year’s wages! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?”

Do you get the sense that, for Jesus, something larger than merely finding food for the crowd is going on here? Jesus turns the tables on them: “What are you going to do about it?”

The disciples’ response is just wonderful, isn’t it? “Are you kidding us, Jesus? Do you even know what you’re asking?”

Jesus has the disciples just where He wants them. While they had eyes to see the need, they were blind to the solution. Perhaps the solution was closer than they ever imagined, if they could only see it.

“How many loaves do you have?” he asked. “Go and see.”

Again, Jesus is brilliant. He answers a question with a question, a question that will lead them to the very solution, if they only had eyes to see it.

The problem was not that the disciples missed the need. They saw it. The problem was that it never dawned on them that they might actually have a role in the solution. What results is nothing short of a miracle. Well over 5,000 people are fed with five loaves and two fish, all distributed by the disciples.

Often it’s easy for us to see the needs around us and cry out to God, “Where are You? If You are such a loving God, then why are You allowing this to happen?” We see the need, but are we blinded to the fact that we might actually hold the key to the solution? Could it be that God is inviting us to be a part of the solution?

God is always present, always at work, so there are no God-forsaken situations, only situations that have been forsaken by His followers. God is answering our question with another one, “I’m right here; where are you?”

Do you have eyes to see the needs? Do you hear the invitation? How many loaves do you have?

What needs are there around you? Could God be calling you to be a part of the solution?

Mark 6:6-13, 30-44

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Mike DeVries

Mike DeVries is a husband, father and a veteran pastor and youth pastor. He is an adjunct professor at Azusa Pacific University in the School of Theology.

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