This week’s money and stewardship devotional from the four Gospels* is to consider financial miracles and prayer from Mark 6:35-44.
35 By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples came to him. “This is a remote place,” they said, “and it’s already very late. 36 Send the people away so that they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” 37 But he answered, “You give them something to eat.” 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?” 38 “How many loaves do you have?” he asked. “Go and see.” When they found out, they said, “Five—and two fish.” 39 Then Jesus directed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties. 41 Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. 42 They all ate and were satisfied, 43 and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish. 44 The number of the men who had eaten was five thousand.
Five thousand men, and many more women and children were fed that day. One of the apostles wanted to send them away, because it was going to cost about half a year’s wages to feed them, perhaps something like $25,000 in today’s money. Jesus took the 5 loaves of bread and two fish and made them turn into enough quantity to feed everyone. They could have taken a collection, or borrowed the money. They could have asked the bread makers and fishermen to donate food. He could have sent them away hungry to fend for themselves in the village, or he could have sent them back to their homes to eat.
This verse demonstrates a lot of things:
- Jesus cares not only about the spiritual aspects of life, but also about the physical things.
- Jesus has the power to multiply things by taking small things and growing them miraculously and quickly, as, for example, when he took a couple of pounds of food and turned it into several thousand pounds–already cleaned, cooked and ready to eat.
- Jesus wants to feed us physically and spiritually, because he loves us.
- Jesus wants to encourage us by showing what he can do
- Jesus works with us in his miracle process by giving us work to do, such as the work his disciples did when they went around feeding everyone.
- Jesus likes to take care of those who don’t have enough resources to care for themselves.
- Jesus cared for those who were listening to and following him.
- Jesus cared for the flock in a community setting.
Maybe you need a financial miracle. Maybe the ministry you are involved in that takes care of others needs a miracle too. Jesus can stretch our money to go farther than it should mathematically. Jesus can stretch our resources, such as the food in our cupboard. Jesus can stretch your generosity to help others who are running short, so that you are more inclined to give food or money to friends, to food pantries, or to other charities that help people.
It is important for us to play our part too. Scripture commands us to work hard, budget, tithe, save, live well below our means, seek the counsel of many advisers, and borrow little. He wants us to live in a close community environment of attending church and being involved in small groups, so that we can receive ministry for our emotional needs as well as our physical ones if we run into trouble. Ask God to show you any of these things that you need to do.
Maybe we are doing our part–all the right things–and we are still running short. Pray for miracles so that your money and resources will stretch. Pray for the material things you own, like your car and house, so that things don’t wear out and need expensive repairs. Pray for your job, for raises, or for God to show you how to be a better, more effective worker. Pray for wisdom and self control when it comes to personal finances. Pray for ways to pay for or to get free or low cost needed medical care or prescriptions. Pray for God to help you repay all your creditors. Pray for discernment so that God will show you who needs your help.
Pray for discernment, raises and business growth so that you might help others more. Seek to have a heart like King David, one that is after God’s own heart, seeking Jesus’ Kingdom- (I blogged about this a few weeks ago), and so that your finances are not consumed by worries or wearing yourself out to get rich.
Pray for your daily bread, as the Lord’s prayer commands us to. Pray for miracles. Pray for God’s grace, for second chances, for miracles, even when you haven’t been faithful.
Conclusion: Good financial stewardship often requires these elements of doing our part: getting help from others, helping others and miracles–so it must be wise to pray for all of these things.
What do you think about all of this? Please comment below.
*A chronological examination of any verse that involves money and stewardship, attempting to see the new light that Jesus shines on money in His ‘for-us’ but selfless, grace filled, Holy Spirit empowered, and Kingdom oriented positions. This is the twenty fourth post in this series.