When the crowds learned this, they followed him on foot from the cities. When Jesus arrived and saw a large crowd, he had compassion for them and healed those who were sick. That evening his disciples came and said to him, “This is an isolated place and it’s getting late. Send the crowds away so they can go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” But Jesus said to them, “There’s no need to send them away. You give them something to eat.” They replied, “We have nothing here except five loaves of bread and two fish.” He said, “Bring them here to me.” He ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. He took the five loaves of bread and the two fish, looked up to heaven, blessed them and broke the loaves apart and gave them to his disciples. Then the disciples gave them to the crowds. Everyone ate until they were full, and they filled twelve baskets with the leftovers. About five thousand men plus women and children had eaten (Matthew 14:13-21, Common English Bible).
The favorite all-time television show at my house is M*A*S*H. I like the show, Cindy loves it. At one time we recorded every episode back when the Houston CBS affiliate (KHOU) ran it after the ten o’clock news.
As I was thinking about our lesson the last few days and as we revisit it one last time before moving on, an old episode of M*A*S*H titled “They Call the Wind Korea.” In this episode a Manchurian windstorm is coming to the 4077. Despite the storm Major Winchester convinces Klinger to drive him to Seoul. They come across a transport truck that is overturned and has injured men on board. One has a collapsed lung. Winchester laments his lack of proper equipment and insists he can’t be expected to do this without being in a proper operating room with all the right equipment but he continues to work. He needs to re-inflate the lung. He takes a syringe and other things and works to accomplish the needed task saying over and over again, “This will never work.” In the end, of course, it does work and the Greek soldier lives.
I can’t help but wonder when the disciples brought the little boy’s lunch (John’s version of this story) to Jesus, who separates it into portions and tells the twelve to take it out to the people (Remember from yesterday’s post that we are actually talking about considerably more than 5000. It was 5000 men plus women and children. An estimate of 20,000 people would not be unreasonable) if the disciples were saying, “This will never work.”
It could easily be something they would say. Forget the women and children for a moment and think about trying to feed 5000 men with five loaves of bread and two fish. We would probably be saying, “This will never work.” Now, further complicate the matter by adding in all the women and children (whatever number that may have been). Again, for at least one disciple to say “This will never work” is not an unreasonable assumption. Lots of people without lots of food. “This will never work.”
But, as we know, from having read the story above, it did work. It worked amazingly well. Jesus gave each of the disciples a basket of food and the disciples worked their way through the crowd, giving people their fill of food as they went. Everyone had plenty. The baskets never ran out of food. And, in the end, there were twelve baskets of leftovers. In other words, THEY HAD MORE FOOD LEFT WHEN THEY FINISHED THAN THEY HAD WHEN THEY STARTED.
That is really something. Even when the impossible seems to be present, God can show up and do exceedingly more than anyone believes possible. “It will never work” are four words that, when used together, well, let’s just say God doesn’t use those words together.
It will never work. That is, it will never work until God says it will.
Where have you seen something you thought would never work, actually work because God touched and blessed the event?
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Joy and Thankfulness,
Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved