Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Part XXI: Dealing With The Problem Of Limited Resources In Serving God
(Mark 6:32-44)
  1. Introduction
    1. As is so often the case, Christians experience material need shortages while trying to do the will of God.
    2. In extreme conditions, the temptation is to get frustrated or even caustic at God as we seem to be called upon to do so much with so little.
    3. Jesus' disciples were not immune to this challenge either. At a time when they were stressed out and needing a vacation, when their financial resources were low, God called them to minister to a massive number of people. The disciple s replied with a caustic remark, and the lesson takes off from there as to what our response should be in similar situations:
  2. Dealing With The Problem Of Limited Resources In Serving God, Mark 6:32-44.
    1. Just before the incident of the feeding of the five thousand, the disciples were at a low ebb with resources:
      1. Emotionally and spiritually, they were drained from an extensive outreach ministry, Mark 6:12-13,30f.
        1. These men had just finished extensive preaching and the performing of miracles and Jesus stated that they needed a break, Mark 6:12-13 with 6:30-31a.
        2. Besides, they ministered under pressure: John the Baptist had been butchered by Herod and felt that the expanded ministry of Jesus with these disciples was judgment for that martyrdom, 6:14-28.
      2. Physically, they were stretched to the limit as their miraculous works had stirred many to take up their time and attention so they could not so much as eat, Mark 6:31b.
      3. With Jesus telling them to take a vacation, and with the crowds following the men on foot as they left for a vacation by boat, the problem of frustrated goals added to their burdens in a mental level, 6:32-33.
      4. Jesus felt compassion on the shepherdless crowds, and so interrupted the vacation to teach them, 6:34.
      5. With the crowds around, and the men tired and frustrated at the crowds, the disciples asked Jesus to dismiss the crowds to eat in the villages, apparently longing for their vacation to be a reality, 6:35-36.
      6. Jesus told the men to feed the crowds, and they replied in their exasperated status with the caustic retort that it would take 8 months of a man's yearly salary to feed them, Mark 6:37.
    2. At this point, Jesus exampled God's direction and provision for believers with limited resources in ministry:
      1. Step One - Assess and organize what resources we already have, Mark 6:38.
      2. Step Two - Organize the needs needing to be addressed, Mark 6:39-41. In this case, Jesus made the men set the people down in groups of fifties and hundreds on the green grass for addressing the needs.
      3. Step Three - Deliver the shortage of resources in view of the greater demands of needs to the Lord, 41a
      4. Step Four - As God directs, take each step moment-by-moment in dispensing the resources, 6:41b.
      5. Step Five - As God multiplies the resources in His leading, dispense them, following the organized order previously planned, Mark 6:41 with 6:40.
      6. Step Six - If there are leftovers due to God's grace, save them for later needs, Mark 6:42-43.
Lesson: If we are flat out of mental, physical, emotional or spiritual resources to do some ministry in the home or church or business that Scripture requires we perform, God teaches us in the Feeding of the Five Thousand to do the following: (a) a sses and organize what few resources we do have remaining; (b) organize how to address the needs as best as we can; (c) in prayer, commit the shortfall of resouces to meet the greater needs to the Lord; (d) then, follow the Lord's step-by-step leading as to how and when to implement the plan dispensing of remaining resources to the greater needs; (e) as God begins to stretch the resources, or provide more of them, etc., dispense them to the needs following the plan we had set up; (f) if there are leftover res ources in God's grace once the needs have been met, save them for future needs.

Application: When stressed out due to a shortfall in resouces to meet bigger needs, remember that God is not stressed out over the problem. Thus, get organized, manage as best we can, and commit the problem to God before making a valiant effort to solve the problem anyway! He'll do the rest!