35 When it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is now very late; 36 send them away so that they may go into the country and villages around and purchase something for themselves to eat.” 37 But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.” They said to him, “Are we to go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread, and give it to them to eat?” 38 And he said to them, “How many loaves have you got? Go and see.” When they had found out, they said, “Five, and two fish.” 39 Then he ordered them to get all the people to recline in groups on the green grass. 40 So they reclined in groups of hundreds and of fifties. 41 Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and he divided the two fish among them all. 42 And all ate and were filled; 43 and they took up twelve baskets full of bread fragments and of the fish. 44 Those who had eaten the loaves included five thousand men.
an experiment in trust
When Jesus had sent his disciples out on their first evangelistic tour in the Galilean villages, he told them not to carry extra provisions. Now that they have returned, they face another test of the feasibility of that advice. Everyone knew that the meagre meal they found was not enough for such a large crowd. So, it was not about making do with less in order to stay in ministry. No, it was about trusting that God knows what he is doing. It was learning to trust the God who sent them to bring them to their destination.
Our Lord wants to teach us to trust that he supplies what we need to get the job done. Once we really know that, we will not need the mass fish sandwich experience. Until we know that, all the fish sandwiches in the world will not bring glory to Christ.
LORD, show your glory by providing for our needs as we minister. But help us to trust you before the provision comes.