“How far are you willing to go?” This was Jesus’ question to Phillip. He inquired about the place they could get food for everyone by asking “where shall we buy bread…”? Jesus comes to us with this same question often: How far are you willing to go in helping a person or group of people?
There is always a cost in serving and helping others.
The cost comes in various ways: lost sleep, travel to visit and encourage, personal financial expenditures, just to name a few. Yet Jesus expects us to go the “extra mile” in serving and giving. In this instance when He knew what He was going to do, He asked the question to see how far Phillip and the others would go. Would they go as far as He would in serving others and meeting their needs? So often our service for others is limited to us doing what we feel like doing when we feel like doing it. We call that “service“. We call that “volunteering”. But Jesus is looking for it to become a way of life for His disciples.
“For I have given you an example that you also should do just as I have done for you.” John 13:15.
We tend to put limits on who we serve and with how much gusto we give in certain situations. If there is something to gain, we give a 110% but if we feel there’s gonna be little return, we back off and give 49%. This is not Jesus’ way!
“You have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. 39 But I tell you, don’t resist an evildoer. On the contrary, if anyone slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. 40 As for the one who wants to sue you and take away your shirt, let him have your coat as well. 41 And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and don’t turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. Matthew 5:38-42
Jesus makes it clear that our hospitality and service should go well beyond what the “world” would consider “reasonable”.
I’m not saying put your life in danger, I’m saying put your ego on the cross. I’m saying “let go of my ‘eggo’”. Yeah, we all have our limits but what if Jesus was pushing them? Would you push back or would you go the distance?How far are you willing to go?
“How far is that gonna go?” This was the question they asked Jesus when the boy gave all he had in service for the multitude. What the disciples failed to realize was who they were really hanging out with. They thought Jesus could do some cool tricks, pull off a few nifty miracles like changing water to wine but what was He gonna do with some fish and bread and close to 8,000 hungry people? This meal would barely cut it for the teenager who gave it to him much less the starving multitude!
Jesus has a way of stretching things, right? It’s not about how much there is but in whose hands it’s placed. Jesus was able to stretch those fish and bread farther than anyone could have ever imagined!
When we give our little to the Lord, He will bless it and stretch it and make it a blessing to all.
There are times when we can feel like our meager gifts, contributions and talents are nothing and yet in the hands of Christ it can go really, really far; farther than anyone could have dreamt.
However, there are times we can end up doubting Jesus has the ability to do something when we give him everything. What’s funny is that the disciples had nothing to give and they are questioning Jesus about what someone has given as though to say: “Jesus can you even really use this?” The answer was an emphatic “Yes! “Have the people sit down”.
Regardless of what you think the merit in your or another’s offering is the Lord will graciously receive anything given in faith. Faith is always blessed by the hands of Jesus.
6 Now without faith it is impossible to please God, for the one who draws near to Him must believe that He exists and rewards those who seek Him. Hebrews 11:6
How far does your faith go? Far enough to be a blessing to everyone around you? Far enough to be blessed by God?George Lockhart is a missionary with Vision 2 Hear and serves as the Youth Pastor at New Vision Church in Fayetteville, GA