Going into my senior year of college I had saved some elective hours and so I decided to take economics (Macro and Micro). It was a fun course and I learned the formula of economics that is called the law of supply and demand.
When demand exceeds supply, prices rise. And when supply exceeds demands, prices decline. Pretend there is a store that sells apples. On a given day there is a tremendous demand for apples. Outside the door there is a line of forty or fifty people waiting to buy apples. The supply is low. What does the storeowner do? She raises the price of apples because the demand is exceeding the supply.
On another occasion, there comes a time when there are a hundred apples in the store and no one has any interest in apples. No one is asking for apples. They are about to rot and will become of no use to anyone. So, what does the storeowner do? She lowers the price because the supply is exceeding the demand.
What does all this have to do with Christ’s feeding of thousands of people on the Galilean hillside? That experience was all about the law of supply and demand. Without Christ, we always want more than we can get. With Christ, we always have more than we need.
Of the 38 parables that Jesus told in the gospels, 1/3 of them deal with our relationship to our material possessions. One out of every six verses in Matthew, Mark, and Luke discuss the right use of material goods. Our Lord reminds us that our money talks and it is saying something about our commitment to Him.
One day Jesus laid out an economic plan for His people. He gave it on a grassy hillside in Galilee. Jesus has an economic plan for our lives, let’s take a look.
Pray – Lord we recognize that you and you alone have provided all that we have, and have blessed our lives with the things we need. You have also given us friends, our church family, our homes, cars, and we thank you. It is our desire to follow your Word – change our hearts to follow your plans and commands.
- Without Christ, We Always Want More (John 6:1-9)
“After this Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. 2 And a large crowd was following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing on the sick. 3 Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples. 4 Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand. 5 Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a large crowd was coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?” 6 He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do. 7 Philip answered him,“Two hundred denarii worth of bread would not be enough for each of them to get a little.” 8 One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, 9 “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?”
A need developed in Galilee. The demand was great. Thousands of people were gathered together far away from home without any food. There wasn’t a McDonald’s as far as the eye could see. There was no apparent supply to meet the demand.
Without Christ there is never enough. Demand always exceeds supply. Those who try to fill this void of their life with money never have enough. How much is enough? Just a little bit more.
How much sex is enough? Just a little bit more. How much recognition is enough? Just a little bit more. How much power is enough? Just a little bit more. Why? Because there is a void in our lives that is so large that only Christ can fill it.
There were three things that brought about this problem of supply and demand (John 6:1-5). These people did not think ahead. There were thousands of men, women, and children who had (1) no sense of proper planning. They had a demand for which there was no apparent supply. The little boy’s mom seems to be the only person among thousands of people who thought ahead.
So how does this affect our lives? How should we plan? It is wise to save in the event of unplanned surprises, to have a retirement account, to put money away for college, or to invest. Planning ahead is very important.
So what do we do with Matthew 6:19-21 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust5 destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.”
Our answer is in the second reason that they had the problem – they find themselves in their predicament because they had (2) no sense of purpose (John 6:5-9). When you combine no plan (just living for the moment) and connect it with no purpose for doing it – it stills leaves one empty.
Is it wrong to want to retire, or even retire early? Is it wrong to want to put money into savings for a time of emergency, or just put money aside for any reason (vacations, travel, or develop a portfolio?) It’s all about your purpose for doing it. What goals do you want to accomplish, and why?
Philip and Andrew best illustrate this very fact. The Lord said that He was “testing” them (John 6:6). He had asked Philip where they should buy bread to eat. For several semesters, the disciples had been taking Jesus’ Bible Economics 101 class – and now it was time for the mid-term. How did they do?
Philip gave an interesting response to Christ’s question. He replied that “”Eight months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” Phillip had a cash register for a mind. The first thing he thought about was not the glory of God nor the power of the Lord Jesus Christ, but how much would it cost?
They had seen Jesus turn water into new wine, a few chapters before. They had seen Jesus heal the sick. But because they had not seen Him specifically multiply fish and bread they were clueless. Philip dealt with the dilemma the same way an atheist would – he looked only at what he could see.
Then Andrew comes speaks up, “9“Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, (yeah Andrew! Then he says) but how far will they go among so many?” (oh, so close to being right)
Phillip and Andrew were both soul winners (Phillip found Nathaniel and brought him to Jesus, and Andrew found Peter and brought him to Jesus). But on the Galilean hillside they became part of the problem and not the solution because they had no sense of purpose. Christians who don’t understand why they are on this planet, often times become part of the problem instead of pointing to the answer.
It says that Jesus was testing them – Was Jesus hoping they would say, “Lord, that is no problem for you. We watched you turn water into wine. You can do anything.” Phillip and Andrews are still around today. There are some who are always looking for human possibilities to solve problems with their
When we live our Christian lives this way, our impact stays very small. It is one single lunch perspective verses feeding 5,000 people perspective. The difference in those two perspectives is eternal in its scope.
The third reason they find themselves in this predicament was that the disciples had (3) no sense of potential. Look at this boy who left home with enough food to feed five thousand people and he did not even know it.
Demand often exceeds supply and it’s not just because of no sense of planning, or no sense of purpose. Sometimes it is because we have no sense of potential. It is not the size of our lunch that matters but whether Christ has it in His hands or not.
“5When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him” – The truth is that no matter how much we fail to plan, how we lack purpose, or even see little potential – Jesus sees us, and says “you feed them.” Jesus already knew what He was going to do, He knew that He was going to feed the thousands of people.
Jesus saw the teaching potential in the moment, Jesus saw the potential to show His power to vast amounts of people, he saw the potential in the people to go home and share what they had seen with others – Jesus saw the potential in the disciples when all they had to say was “send them home.”
Do you know what the disciples saying, “send them home” means?
We must ask Christ to give us eyes to see the multitudes and the fish and loaves in our lives as He did on that day. – we have all we need to do any ministry that presents itself before us.
But instead of saying “there’s not enough” or “send them away” or “I don’t see what we can do with this” Ask God to let us see the potential of what you could do for Christ, and what we can do as a multitude of disciples.
- With Christ, We Always Have More Than We Need (John 6:10-15)
10Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and the men sat down, about five thousand of them. 11Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. 12When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” 13So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten. 14After the people saw the miraculous sign that Jesus did, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.” 15Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.
Jesus took the bread and fish, gave thanks to the Father, and multiplied it across the multitude. After everyone had eaten there were twelve basketfuls of fragments that remained which were gathered.
The boy could have clutched his brown bag, but he gave it to Jesus. He gave it all – what did he get in return? He had a meal that was all he wanted (which is what he had to start with). He got to see Jesus do something wonderful right before His very eyes. He got another opportunity to give again – from what was left over of his meal. We never give anything to the Lord and lose it. He keeps giving it back to us again and again.
The boy gave to Jesus. Jesus gave to the disciples. The disciples gave to the crowd and the more they gave the more there was to give. And the crowd even had the opportunity to give back. The Bible says “they were filled.” Our biggest fear is, if I give of myself, my resources, my family, my time – then there won’t be enough.
There is a television show called “Hoarders, Buried Alive” on the Learning Channel – it is an illness, but at the heart of the illness is the thought, “I will be happy if I have just a little bit more.” Then they hoard whatever they can (trash, animals, newspapers, clothes, and most of it broken and damaged. But each time they gather something the joy they find is fleeting, and so they go out again.
Notice that Jesus did not just lift his hands to heaven and say, “let manna rain down from heaven.” He desires to use whatever we are willing to give to Him, in honor of Him – why? He desires to show His power and love through us – He desires to use in His plan of redemption and grace to mankind. He uses what we give Him as apart of this plan, even if it is small in our eyes he sees the infinite potential of His power.
Most of us would have stopped there. The need had been met. Jesus then says, “Gather up the fragments that remain.” Now the people gave. The ones who had said, “not enough,” are now crying out “more than enough!” Those that gave nothing, now have something to give back.
There once was a time when you did not know God, and the knowledge of His grace was far from you. But now, you know Him, and every time you reach out to Him, He is there. Every time you pray, He listens, and every time you have a need, your heavenly Father provides. You have experienced the Bread of Life, what do you do with this knowledge?
But Jesus also added, “Let nothing be wasted.” This is the same Greek word that is translated “perish” in John 3:16. The same Greek word that is translated “ruined” or “destroyed” in Matthew 9:17. It is the same word that is translated “perish or spoiled” in John 6:27.
Jesus is in the business of “picking up the pieces” of lost, spoiled, perishing, wasted, ruined lives, and using them again! He wants to gather up the pieces of broken lives today so that none will be wasted or lost.
Matthew 18:14 “So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.”
Remember it is not the size or the condition of the lunch that matters but whether we are willing to let our Lord Jesus have it all. The lunch did not do any good at all until it was placed in the hands of the Lord, and when it was, what a difference it made!
Some of us who have been crying “not enough” need to begin to trust Christ. With Christ, supply exceeds demand and the cry is “more than enough.” You have hung out with Jesus, but you have never placed your lunch in His hands.
Without Christ factored in the equation of life, we will never be satisfied. We are always trying to fill the void within us. Is Christ the center of every area of your life this morning?
The miracle that we looked at this morning is the only miracle that is shown in all four of the gospels. It is important – God multiplies what we give Him. He uses it to show others His love, and it all begins with one person saying “here’s what I have, let me see the potential of what you desire to do around me.”
This giving begins when a person gives Christ their lives for salvation. He will take what you give him, a person who lives for himself and is at war with God, who is forever lost and without hope, and re-creates him, places His Holy Spirit within him, and adopts him as His own child. You can be at peace with God through Christ Jesus – do you want this morning? It all begins with the first step of giving Him your life.