John 6:5-14 “When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat? And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little. One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, saith unto him, There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many? And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would. When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost. Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten. Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world.”
Text Mark 16:20 “And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.”
Sometime back, I passed a church sign that read, “Don’t do something for God; do something with God!” Within our text is the accomplishment of a Christ-honoring miracle, all because a lad wanted to do something with God. In addition to yielding a surplus of twelve baskets of fragments, five thousand men, not counting women and children, were fed with five barley loaves and two small fishes. Rather than doing something for, the lad chose to do something with God.
There is a difference in the origin of the work, “he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?” The feeding of this “great company” originated within the compassionate heart of the Saviour. A work for God is generally something that we want to do and not necessarily something He wants us to do. In Acts 16:7-10, the work that Paul had chosen to do was in Bithynia, while the work God wanted him to do was in Macedonia. While both would have been preaching the gospel; one originated with man and the other with the Master. When the work originates with the Master, one is assured of His blessings; “And a certain woman . . . whose heart the Lord opened” (verse 14).
There is a difference in the operation of the work, “he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down.” When one does a work with God, the Lord is not only the source of the vision; He is the supply of vigor. Sufficient sustenance and strength flow from Him, through you to the work. When doing a work for God, the individual must assume responsibility for the supply.
There is a difference in the outcome of the work, “Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world.” When one does a work with God, the Lord is the source of the vision, the supply of vigor, and the subject of victory. Unlike every other writer, John is the only one to make a reference to a lad; yet, he makes no attempt to identify him! In many cases, when a work is done for God, man gets the credit and not the Master! In Matthew 6, Jesus exposes those that work to be seen of men; He said, “They have their reward.”
The lad decided to get involved in a work with God; one with the Lord’s vision, vigor, and victory. A work in which he would one day hear the Master say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant . . . enter thou into the joy of thy lord” (Matthew 25:21).