They said to him, “That would take more than half a year’s wages! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?” Mark 6, verse 37.
One more thing about this story, the feeding of the five thousand; just a small question, if you will.
Sometime in the last few years, making over $100,000 in America became a commonplace thing. If you gross $100K in your annual pay, you’re now counted as distinctively middle class; average and nothing special. If you gross $100K in salary, after all taxes, you’re generally netting between $50,000 and $60,000. Let’s say you net $60,000. According to today’s verse, if you were one of the disciples, you would be saying to Jesus, “you want me to spend $30,000 to feed a bunch of strangers?”
Noodle that thought for a moment. Then it’s time for a gut-check.
You see, would you really give half your income to feed a group of tired, loud, restless, smelly strangers? $30 buys A LOT of mac and cheese, you know. There is some thinking that it was Judas Iscariot who said this verse since Judas was the keeper of the Disciples’ money (and Jesus eventual betrayer), or at least that’s how it was once explained to me. No matter, the words were spoken long before Holy Week. And folks in first century Judea didn’t make $100K; they didn’t make even $30K. They might not have made even the equivalent of $300. The amount really isn’t the point: it’s the staggering figure. A half a year’s wages just to give a crowd a one-time meal? And the point behind that? The point is the reason for the gut-check.
What do you really believe?
Do you really believe that a crap-ton of strangers are worth your hard-earned dollars? Sure, we can say “if someone was hungry I’d give them something to eat” (and I believe you and I would mean it). Well, here’s an instance of someone being hungry (the five thousand men) and Jesus’ closest friends are balking at the idea of feeding them. What do you think they really believed? They, who walked hand-in-hand with King Jesus while He was ministering, living, breathing and, yes, EATING here on the Third Rock, balked when He asked them to feed the hungry. Do you think the Disciples really believed they could feed such a crowd? Or that they should?
Thank God Jesus was handy with a miracle, you know?
And when we are done reading and re-reading the story of how He fed five thousand men on fish and barley bread, that nagging question still nags: what do you REALLY believe?
Do you really believe the Son of God actually did these things? And if you say yes, do you believe Him when He says that you and I can do the same if only we fully trust in Him? That’s the toughest question you’ll face today, maybe even in your lifetime. No pressure, my friend: it’s only eternity hanging on your answer, specifically your eternity. Because if you truly believe in your heart that what Jesus said was all true, then nothing is impossible for you. If you truly believe in what Jesus said, then you quickly must conclude that nothing is about you even as nothing is impossible for you. It doesn’t matter whether you make $100K or $100 million: the scratch is irrelevant. What do you really believe?
Lord, forgive my weak and puny faith, and create in me a home for Your heart.
Read Mark 6, verses 45-56.