True Ministry


Mark 6:33 - 44 (NASB) 33The people saw them going, and many recognized them and ran there together on foot from all the cities, and got there ahead of them.  34When Jesus went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and He felt compassion for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and He began to teach them many things.  35When it was already quite late, His disciples came to Him and said, “This place is desolate and it is already quite late;  36send them away so that they may go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.”  37But 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?”  38And He said* to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go look!” And when they found out, they said*, “Five, and two fish.”  39And He commanded them all to sit down by groups on the green grass.  40They sat down in groups of hundreds and of fifties.  41And He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up toward heaven, He blessed the food and broke the loaves and He kept giving them to the disciples to set before them; and He divided up the two fish among them all.  42They all ate and were satisfied,  43and they picked up twelve full baskets of the broken pieces, and also of the fish.  44There were five thousand men who ate the loaves.


I want to remind you that Jesus absolutely never did anything without reason.  In this story Jesus came in a way the disciples did not expect Him to.  He did it this way to teach them a powerful lesson in ministry.  This lesson is one that is needed by everyone who ministers.  I think that includes just about every one.


Jesus was trying to get away from the crowd and went around a corner of the Sea  of Galilee only to find the very people He was trying to escape had followed them around the lake and were there when they arrived.  Here is a big word in the ministry and that word is “Compassion”.  It says that Jesus felt compassion for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd.  Compassion is vastly important in ministry and I don’t mean your paltry form you can wield.  It is the compassion of Jesus you must flow in.  Sound impossible?  Well it really is, but lets look at the story further.


Those 10 to 15 thousand people (5000 men with wives and kids – yes kids, there was a kid’s lunch remember?) had been there awhile listening to Jesus.  I imagine that it was easy to stay and listen to Jesus, such uncommon teaching He must have provided.  The text doesn’t say what He taught, but the crowd was enthralled and would have stayed all night. 


But the ever practical disciples saw the enormous crowd and were justifiably concerned.  They were a long way from home and they were an enormous crowd.  In fact they would probably tax the facilities of any one or two of the surrounding villages.  Their request of Jesus was most reasonable.  The surrounding area was desolate and far away.  Send the people out to the surrounding villages so they may purchase food to eat.  Evidently the people had left where they were without much provision and that posed a big problem.  A very large hungry crowd if they got very hungry and desperate could get dangerous as well.


But Jesus was now ready to spring the lesson on them!  He made the most unreasonable suggestion, no not a suggestion, but a command.  He said, “You give them something to eat.”  What was Jesus thinking!!??  This must have seriously confused the disciples.  They hadn’t brought any provisions for themselves even, what on earth could they give the people.  Jesus was asking the impossible from them and they absolutely could not deliver.  They exclaimed, that 200 denarii or maybe the modern equal of about 30,000 dollars might feed them, but their purse was flat and they couldn’t provide from their resources at all.


So Jesus send them looking for something and what they came up was paltry indeed.  It was five loves and two fish.  In other texts it was a boy’s lunch.  It wasn’t even enough to satisfy the disciples let alone the vast crowd. 


Brothers and sisters in the Lord, let me speak boldly to you.  We are in the very same boat.  All we have for  ministry is the same paltry fleshly stuff if we are doing it on our strength.  It quite frankly is much like spitting into a forest fire to put it out.  We are so weak as to be despicable and worthless in the sight of God and we need to learn what it is all about.


Here is the crux of the story.  Now Jesus starts moving.  He arranges the people for the ministry to follow.  HE TAKES the loves and fishes.  Yes HE takes the paltry amount the disciples have and then the miracle of true ministry starts.  Jesus then prays to the Father and starts breaking the loaves and fish and then what?  He hands the pieces to the disciples and sends them out to the crowd to minister.  We have hit the core of what the Lord was teaching here.  We have nothing and that nothing must go to Jesus and He will break it, yes break it and give it back to us to pour out in ministry.  The abundance will surprise us when we are through.  How much more were the 12 baskets of bread and fish that the original five loaves and two fish?  That was what was left over AFTER the eating of the thousands.  I suspect some might have been stuffed into tunics for the trip back home as well.


Oh how superabundant is our God!!!  How full His grace, how rich His love!!  Do you see what I see here?  Do you see how our God is our very source and strength for ministry?


I recently went to The Philippines to minister and I left about $8,000 short in the money I though I would need, but God spoke the truth above into my heart and in ministry in Dipolog City and in Mapadan we saw over 1,500 come to the Lord and over 600 healed!!  Blind eyes saw, deaf ears heard and the lame walked. God took our lack both in physical resources and in spiritual resources and overwhelmed us with His abundance.  You see, I have nothing in me to bring salvation and healing to so many.  It was God moving in compassion through me that worked the mighty work.  He covered me with His glory and the crusades we did shook the towns we were in. 


Hallelujah to the Lord so mighty, so glorious so faithful!!!!


Evan Wiggs