Bible Book: John  6 : 5-14
Subject: Commitment; Trust; Involvement; Missions; Witnessing

For much of my life I have been a trekkie! (That is, someone who follows the “Star Trek” saga). I was truly upset in 1969 when the original series was canceled and was excited when Deb & I went to see the First Movie in 1979. However, In 1987 I was a huge fan of Star Trek The Next Generation. One thing which caught my attention in that series was Captain Picard using the word “Engage”. Watch (Clip).

This word “engage” is “engaging.” It calls us to get started, to put our feet to the fire, and get into motion. If you are in the arm forces and are given the order to “engage” the natural response is to get involved. I submit that for far too long, the church (this would be you and me) have been almost disengaged from the world, if we are disengaged we are disconnected, and if we are disconnected we have no influence. Watch how this works.

In an over simplistic illustration, think about the lamp on your coffee table at home. You have a light bulb in the lamp, the lamp connected to the wall socket, the wall socket connected to the light switch on the wall, and the light switch is connected to the power meter on the house. Now, if you’ve paid your electric bill, the power flows through these connections and engages your light bulb which produces light. However, if any one of those connections is not complete then you are in the dark.

As a child of God, we are ultimately connected to the power source of our Heavenly Father through our Lord Jesus Christ. We have the power flowing in BUT if we remain unconnected to the culture then the power of love, forgiveness, and salvation never flows out resulting in no life change. Let consider the story which we have read and learn how to engage.

I. They Discerned The Hot Button Of The Crowd

It would seem that Jesus looked, saw people, & knew these guys were hungry. It would seem to me that He seeing their need for food could serve us in symbolic fashion. It closely resembles Him seeing the woman at the well and offered her water. Jesus sees the most basic need that we have. While it is true that Jesus could and can see more clearly than we can, this story illustrates for us that Jesus is interested in people’s needs. Since we do not possess the under-standing which Jesus did & does, it is imperative that we spend time with, talking with, getting to know, & literally caring for people all around us.

If you were planning on opening a business, would you seek to discover what kind of market you had? You would seek to discover what people would respond to, what they wanted, and more importantly, what they would put their money in. In fact, some people who desire to go into business check out the market to see what is “hot” and what’s ‘not.’ Then they build their business around the need.

Here’s the question, do you actually know what it is that gets the attention of people in this community? Do you know what they would respond to more than anything else? Looking at the culture (as an outsider), I would say that at one time all the residents responded to something like a parade. While that is somewhat true today, do people still respond to a parade today like they did 30 years ago? When I was a teenager, attendance at gospel sings were ‘off the charts’! People came from miles around, stayed all day (and sometimes all night), and just hung out with people they didn’t know. The list can go on and on but here’s the point: Do we know what it is that ‘presses the button” of today’s crowd. The first step to engaging people is the find their hot button. Jesus did. He knew they were hungry & would respond to food.

II. They Discussed The Possibilities

Look how Jesus works. He asked His disciples a question when He knew the answer. He asked them to test them, check them out, and let them see what they were made of. Even though Jesus ‘knew’, He wanted the gang to be involved so He asked, “Where will we buy bread to feed everybody?” Notice that He asked Philip and not Judas or Peter. Those two would have probably had a stroke. Had the disciples been Baptist they would have said, “We need to discuss this in the Finance Committee because it will be a Huge expenditure. In fact, it’s not where can we buy the food, its how will we pay for it?” In fact, you get that kind of feeling from Philip’s answer. However, leave it to the Sons of Thunder to find a possibility. Andrew had been searching through the crowd to see who had food. All we found was a little boy with some loaves and fish but what was that among so many.

In every divine act of God this question can be repeated, “What are we among so many?” We are nothing if we are disconnected. Without the Lord’s help we can never handle the task of rescuing the perishing and care for the dying. We will become like the disciples at the foot of the Mount of Transfiguration or trying to feed 5000 men with loaves & fish.

We achieve nothing if we refused to do the unexpected. Can you imagine this boy, the one who actually had his food? Quite likely, his mom made it for him and made sure he didn’t forget it. It takes no imagination to know that the boy had no idea of sharing his food with the entire crowd! Yet, he was a willing participant. Certainly, the disciples didn’t demand it, more than likely, he said, “It’s not much, but you can have it and use it if you think it will help.”

Jesus said, “Bring me the food and have them to sit on the ground.” Can you imagine all the things which went through the minds of the disciples? They probably thought, “Sit them on the ground?

What’s that going to accomplish? How will that help?” They couldn’t see the possibilities.

III. They Determined To Trust The Lord

This is a huge step for the disciples and the people. Do you get the idea of how many people this is? It is enough people to fill our facility close to 20 times. If they all got settled down and there was no food, it could get nasty. Besides, all they had was 5 loaves of bread and a couple of fish. This wasn’t enough for one man let alone a crowd of 5000 starving men (plus women and children). Yet, we are not sure how they did it, but some way they stilled the crowd released their efforts to control the situation and looked to Jesus. What exactly did Jesus do? He took the meager meal and asked God to bless it.

Consider the fact that the disciples faced an untenable task as there was no human way to feed this many people, it would have broken the bank if there had been a Captain D’s close enough and had enough food to prepare. It is almost like we see ourselves in today’s culture. There are so many people and we appear to have such limited resources. Yet, when we choose to trust the Lord, we may be very amazed at the result. In our community there are people who are “used to’ers”. (It’s not a good term, but it’s accurate) They “used to” go to church. Allow me to make one observation; most of the people with whom I interact, both here and other places, who were once active in a church and are now inactive or estranged from the church view “church” in this light. That is, they “went” to church. It should not be our goal to engage people to “come to church” as much as it is to “come and see.” Based on our relationship with them we can offer the invitation to come and see that the Lord is good, come and see what it means to be a part of God’s family, and come & see how to find peace. Additionally, there are ‘want to’ers.” These are those who want to but have never been asked and don’t know what to expect. There are even ‘need to’ers.” These are those who Need the Lord for one reason or another and yet they have no “known” connection to the Father.

The secret is trust the Lord to take what little we have and multiply it wherever it to is needed. This requires us to prepare ourselves on every level. What is it that you have? You have the gift of gab? Then, learn to use it for His glory. You have the gift of shopping? Give it to Him and learn how to use it for His glory. Every talent and gift you may have is useable for Him only “If” it is returned to Him. The boy released His food and returned it to the Lord and No One went hungry. If we release our gifts to the Lord, no one will be hungry or thirsty any more. But listen, this is only the beginning. Can you imagine the disciples looking at all the food Jesus was handing them to give away? They probably wondered where it was coming from, how this was happening, and “If” there would be any left for them. This is the most amazing part of the entire story. When we engage with our gifts by trusting Him, no need goes unmet. Additionally.

IV. They Discovered Multiple Blessings

Honestly, what I just mentioned would have to head the list as a met need, however, that wasn’t all the blessings. Practically speaking look at this story; Verse 12 begins, “When they were full.” Think about that, Jesus took the small meal and filled up 5000 men plus the women and children. They didn’t want anymore. Where I came from they would have leaned back and said, “Whooooo!” This is what we call the “sigh of satisfaction.” Then Jesus said, “Don’t waste anything, pick up what is left over” and the scriptures say that they picked up twelve basketsful! Consider the thought processes of the disciples. A few loaves and fishes which Jesus is giving away so what would they eat, surely there wouldn’t be anything left those these guys who worked. Does this sound familiar? If I give all my time, my talent, my money, my Sundays, and my all to the Lord, what’s left for me? Note, they began only with that small meal and ended up with a basketful for each disciple!

Did you know that is the way God works? When we trust, give, commit, and respond to Him and His call, He gives to us ‘pressed down, shaken together, and running over.” When we give all we have, then He gives all HE has. Wonder who has the most to give?!?!

God’s call for us is to be like the little boy and the disciples and engage. Take whatever you have, whatever you are, and even whatever you hope to be no matter how small it is, and give it to HIM. He will engage you and use you in ways you cannot imagine.