Luke 9:10-17 (ESV)

10 On their return the apostles told him all that they had done. And he took them and withdrew apart to a town called Bethsaida. 11 When the crowds learned it, they followed him, and he welcomed them and spoke to them of the kingdom of God and cured those who had need of healing. 12 Now the day began to wear away, and the twelve came and said to him, “Send the crowd away to go into the surrounding villages and countryside to find lodging and get provisions, for we are here in a desolate place.” 13 But he said to them, “You give them something to eat.” They said, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish—unless we are to go and buy food for all these people.” 14 For there were about five thousand men. And he said to his disciples, “Have them sit down in groups of about fifty each.” 15 And they did so, and had them all sit down. 16 And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing over them. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. 17 And they all ate and were satisfied. And what was left over was picked up, twelve baskets of broken pieces.

The apostles returned to Jesus and told him about all that their mission accomplished. So Jesus took them to a town called Bethsaida, near the Sea of Galilee, to get some rest. When the word got out that Jesus was going there, the crowds followed. Jesus received them favorably, healing the sick and teaching about the kingdom. As the day went on and on, finally the disciples said, “Listen, Jesus. You have to send these people away now. We are in a remote place. There’s nothing here to eat, and we are all getting really hungry.” But Jesus directed them, “You give them something to eat.” What? How were they going to do that? The disciples didn’t have enough food themselves to share with over 5,000 men, not including women and children, and they couldn’t just walk to the nearest town and carry back that much food. What was Jesus thinking? Was he exhausted and talking nonsense? Then Jesus told them to have the 5,000 men sit in 100 groups of 50. Jesus took the 5 loaves and 2 fish the disciples had gathered between themselves, thanked God for the food, and then gave it to them to distribute. Everyone who was there ate and was satisfied, and strangely enough 12 baskets were left over, which was more food than they began with. This clearly was a supernatural event.

When Jesus told the disciples to give the people food, they only thought of two possible options: either share what they had or get to a nearby town and buy stuff. But they didn’t think of asking Jesus to provide food himself. The disciples were called to serve, but Jesus was the source of the food. What area has Jesus called you to serve others in? Are you asking him to give to the people you minister to, or are you trying to provide yourself? When it comes to spiritual matters, Jesus is the only source that can satisfy hunger. Whether you are preaching the gospel, attending to the needs of children, washing dishes, folding laundry or entering data into a computer, ask Jesus to meet the needs of those you love and serve. Jesus wanted his disciples to have a dependent attitude, and he desires the same for us. In whatever he has called you to do today, ask him to give abundantly through your energy and effort. And after he does, make sure he gets the glory.