Recently we have been talking about how everyone who is a disciple of Jesus is called to do the work of ministry. We have been trying to learn what we can about ministry from the story of feeding the 5,000 found in John 6. We have discussed how Jesus had brought the disciples into what appeared to be an impossible situation, but in reality He already knew what He was going to do. The disciples saw the great need and figured the best thing to do was send everybody away to fend for themselves, but; Jesus being the ultimate shepherd (pastor), saw this as an opportunity to equip, teach, and meet the needs of those who had come to hear Him speak.
Someone once said, “You’d be surprised what can be accomplished when you don’t care who gets the credit.” I think another thing to be learned from the story in John 6 is that sometimes in ministry Jesus may use you to be a coordinator. You may not be the one who directly meets the need, but you may be one who the Spirit of God uses to coordinate. Like the disciples you may think you have nothing to give; but, God has a plan. That day on the hillside the disciples figured that perhaps the best thing to do would be to send the folks away. They saw the multitude and didn’t see any way they could meet the need. How many of us have avoided ministry because we didn’t think we could be used of God? We saw our own lack and thought, “What can I do?” Perhaps, we need to understand that true ministry is not a “one man show.” Real ministry involves the whole “Body.” We can see this in the story of the feeding of the 5,000.
Andrew (one of the disciples) becomes aware of a boy that has brought a packed a lunch; but doubts that it could accomplish anything. “Lord the need is so great, what will this little bit accomplish?” How many times have you felt like sharing or giving or saying something, but felt like it wouldn’t amount to anything? But what did Jesus say? He said, “Bring the lunch to me.”
Once, as I was reading this story, I began to wonder about the little boy with the lunch. Was he really the only one who had sense enough to bring food that day or was he the only one who was willing to surrender his? Sometimes we are so concerened with our growth, our relationship with the Lord, etc… that we forget that its not all about us. In the Old Testament , when the land was being alloted and the 2½ tribes opted to stay on the east side of the Jordan, they still had to send their warriors to help their brothers who had yet to obtain their inheritance. Are you so focused on you and yours that you have forgotten that there are brothers and sisters in Christ (not to mention unbelievers) who need you to minister to them?
To this day the little boy with the lunch remains nameless and faceless. We don’t know who he was, his name, or anything. He’s the kid with the food. How many of us would have been like, “Ah, this little bit wont do any good” or “I’m keeping my stuff they should’ve known better” or “I can’t believe Jesus didn’t even mention my name; they should’ve at least named the grassy slope after me.” Can you see how cool it is that Andrew became aware of the boy, the boy was willing to give up his lunch, and Jesus was the one who performed the miracle and brought glory to God. That’s how true ministry is supposed to work. We all just come to Jesus and say, “Here Lord, use me how ever you’d like to.”
Jesus used a little boy to give the disciples something to distribute among the people. It all came from Jesus’ hand; that’s how true ministry works. Maybe you’re the little boy, nameless & faceless, or; maybe you’re like the disciples, seen and used to distribute the food- it doesn’t matter. It’s all from Jesus and for His glory. Will you come and give yourself and what you have to Him. Will accept your role whether it be known or unknown? Will you come and surrender yourselves and your gifts that He may bless? Will you allow Him to break it up and distribute it as He sees fit?
Service is not something that a lesser person does to someone greater; no, it is the lifestyle of a disciple. You are called to minister, you are called to serve. That pride and selfishness which is resident in so many of us must be broken so that what God has given us may be used to bring others to Christ. Our American “I’m supposed to be a celebrity” mentality has to be broken. You are called to ministry beloved by the one who though He was God, emptied Himself and took the form of a servant.