Jesus challenged the disciples when they attempted to dismiss the crowd that had excitedly followed Jesus all day long. The disciples were concerned about the practicalities: How would the crowd get home when it gets dark? Does the crowd plan to eat? So, the disciples suggested that Jesus should send the crowd away. The disciples didn’t want to accept any responsibility for these people.
Jesus then gave the disciples a strong lesson. He told the disciples that they would not be sending anyone away. Then, He pushes the disciples by telling them, “You give them something to eat.” Jesus is telling them that He will not send people away to search for a solution to their problems because He is that solution.
The disciples failed to understand the importance of care and connection, so Jesus had the disciples work the ministry that day.
Discerning a need is a calling for us, just like it was for the disciples, to stop being an observer. Spiritual growth fosters discernment in us and that discernment allows us to see need. When we see need in the lives around us, we are the first solution to that need. What we cannot do is walk with the Lord and dismiss our ability to help fulfill those needs.
Walking with Him is about more than proximity to holiness. It is accepting that we can only be observers for so long before we are required to channel what God has given to us as a benefit to someone else. If He saved us, He wants to use us.
Being part of a church is about more than just learning and worship. Church isn’t like the supermarket. It’s not a place where we go to get our teaching and worship and check out. It’s not like a football game where we are just observers. God saved us to be partners in kingdom expansion.
Every believer should be engaged in ministry. We should all be in a receiving ministry, like worship and bible study. We should all sing our worship whether we can sing or not because it isn’t just for us; it teaches those around us. We should also be in a service ministry: something that uses what God has handed to us so that we can pass it on to someone else.
We cannot be a part of God’s church and just receive. We can’t just come to worship and call ourselves mature disciples. God has to work through us so that we can be a benefit to others. That is why Jesus told the disciples, “You give them something to eat.”