Jesus provides. Always. But not always how we want. Can we trust him? Can we be patient? Can we be okay with loose ends? And will we let his provision impact the way that we provide for others?
Jesus Provides for People
In John 6 we see that Jesus had become really popular. People were following him around. Lots of people. And on one particular day Jesus took his disciples up on a mountainside. The crowd of people followed him up there too.
And when Jesus looked out over them, he knew that the people were hungry. They must have been far enough away from somewhere for folks to eat, so Jesus asks one of his followers, Philip a question. He asked, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” (John 6.5).
Immediately after this question, Philip and then Andrew seemed a bit confused about who Jesus was and what he was capable of doing by how they answered his question. But Jesus took a little boy’s lunch and he miraculously turned his lunch into enough food for 5000+ people with leftovers remaining.
But the really cool thing, at least to me, is that Jesus had the people sit down and he served them until everyone had enough. Jesus’ provision was total. His miracle didn’t provide a bite or two for everyone. Nope! Instead, it provided enough for everyone with plenty remaining.
Friends, Jesus still provides this way today too. Despite us being like Philip (focused on strategy and not what Jesus can do) and/or Andrew (trusting Jesus but also had a bit of doubt), Jesus finds ways to provide for us. His provision doesn’t come in ways that we expect.
We think that we need to use our own strategies and resources. We think that maybe Jesus can do it but then we hedge our bets when push comes to shove.
But he provides. Always.
But Matt, how do you know?
Well, let me tell you where I’m coming from:
- The Bible is full of tons of stories of how God provides for his people. And since God’s modus operandi never changes, he’s still in the business of providing today too.
- As I have read Christian history and seen the thousands of stories of how Jesus provides for all sorts of people (pioneer missionaries, pastors, families, academics, peasants, royalty, and normal people), my faith in Jesus’ provision only grows.
- I’ve witnessed how Jesus provides in my life and in the life of my family. In fact, in the last two years I’ve been on the receiving end of Jesus’ provision a ton – with moving to our current neighborhood, with our son’s adoption, and with being commissioned as an urban missionary. Jesus provides and I have seen it in our lives over and over and over!
- And I’ve seen how God provides for the churches I’ve been a part of and I’ve seen how he provides for my friends and family. I’ve heard the stories. I’ve seen the tears of joy. I’ve listened to the testimonies. I’ve been there to witness the evidence firsthand.
Jesus Provides But Do We?
When we see a group of people in need, how do we respond?
Well, if we’re honest, we don’t always respond well. Better, I don’t always respond well.
Sometimes I think things like this: do they deserve to be provided for?, can’t someone else use their resources to provide for them?, I already have done so much; it’s someone else’s turn, etc.
I operate as if I live in a economy of scarcity, even though the God of the universe is the one who provides for me and calls me to provide for others. I, and we, don’t have to worry about giving from our stack. Sure, it might go down for a bit, but Jesus provides, like he always does.
But when Jesus provides, he expects us to provide or others in return. Will we?
Will we provide for those in need?
Will we take whatever we have access to, give thanks to God for it, and ask him to multiply it for his purposes?
Will we step out in faith, freely giving whatever we have since it’s not ours to begin with?
Will we be greedy or generous with what Jesus has provided?
Will we respond to the way Jesus provides by imitating him or bowing to our selfish desires?
Friends, let’s band together, starting today. Let’s be radically generous. Let’s sacrifice our time, our resources, and our talents for the benefit of others.
Let’s respond to God’s blessing by blessing others!
Are you ready for this challenge!?
Let’s do it!
What do you think? Does Jesus always provide? And how are we to provide for others in response? Let me know in the comments below.