“FACING NEEDS” By Pastor Yau
To have needs and wants is part of being human since no man is all self sufficient. We have personal needs, needs of our loved ones, those whom we know, our community and people beyond. Needs of people are varied in time and place. Some are easier to be met while others are beyond our abilities. Meeting needs is therefore a problem mankind struggles to achieve.
The Scripture reference quoted about is an important account in the Bible. Jesus was facing the needs of an estimate of 30,000 people. The event must be so important and popular that it was recorded in all four gospels of the New Testament. Other references of the event may be found at Matthew 14:13-21; Luke 9:10-17 and John 6:1-13.
While there are many lessons we may learn from this event, I want to draw your attention at least to the following: What may we learn from Jesus?
MEETING WHOSE NEEDS FIRST? (Mark 6:30-34)
On this background passage, we see the needs of Jesus and His disciples: they needed time to rest, to have food, to recuperate from exhaustion of busy works. But as they tried to find a place to do that, they were met with the needs of some 30,000 people. Instead of meeting his own needs and that of his disciples, Jesus immediately began his ministry of teaching, healing and feeding of the thousands.
While it is legitimate to meet our own needs, especially those essential ones, we are encouraged to see and meet the needs of others first from the examples set by Jesus. If we want to be different than what the world may see, this is the way to demonstrate our true faith and deep commitment as the followers of our Master. Everyone in the world knows to meet his own needs. But only those who follow the examples of Jesus know the importance of self sacrifice when their needs are in collision with that of others.
STEPS OF THE MASTER: ()
There are steps in this event we may learn from Jesus as He approached and met the needs of others. All the steps are from this verse.
1) He stepped out of the boat. No one can see the needs of others when he confines himself in his comfort zone. But that is exactly most of us usually do. We are to comfortable, too scared or too much involved in our own needs that we just don’t see the needs of others. We need to STEP out into the world of others then we can see their needs.
2) He saw the multitude and their needs. After stepping out, we need to see, to find, to understand and to know the needs of others. This will take time and efforts, will need to take initiatives, to ask, to visit, etc. Many people want to help, but they just not willing to SEE the needs of others.
3) He had compassions. He was deeply moved by the over-whelming needs of the people. Their needs touched his heart. This is a very important step: to feel and to love. Without this step, little can be done to meet needs.
4) He worked: teaching, healing and feeding. Without this final step, all the previous steps won’t bring results or benefits to anyone. DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.
MAN’S WAY VS. GOD’S WAY: (-38)
From the accounts of the suggestions presented by the disciples, we see the working of the human way: 1) it is too late and it is too remote, nothing we can do. 2) ask them to find food for themselves because it is NOT our problem. 3) we just don’t have the money to buy enough food. It is beyond our resource. Sounds familiar? We often times hear reasons like these to pass the buckets to others when we face needs of others. But Jesus’ way is different. He did not see the problem of being late and far away from places of supplies. He was not discouraged by obstacles. He commanded the disciples to give food to the people. By doing so, Jesus acknowledged it the His responsibility as that of His disciples to meet the needs. Then He asked what they have. He was asking people to bring Him whatever they have, even it may be so small, he could make it possible to meet ALL needs.
The sense of inadequacy often times stops us from placing ourselves in the hands of the Lord. He can make it possible to meet all needs if we are willing to place ourselves in His hands.
When Jesus said that Christians are the light and the salt of the world, it means we are to give self sacrifice in order to be effective in meeting the needs of the world. Most people are not impressed by our orthodox theology, bible knowledge or skills in doing church works like preaching or singing. But many of the non-believing world will be impressed if we are willing to follow the examples of Jesus to meet their needs.