When I read a passage of Scripture and the Holy Spirit applies it to my life, it sinks deep into my soul, satisfying as little else can. I feel as if I am sitting at Jesus’ feet like Mary did in Luke 10:39, learning from Him first-hand. He is revealing Himself to me one truth at a time.
While reading through the book of Mark, I came to the familiar passage about Jesus feeding the five thousand in Mark 6:30-44 . I have read this many times before so it wasn’t new to me, but that is what is so exciting about studying the Bible. No matter how many times a person reads it, God continues teaching and revealing greater depths of truth/insight progressively.
How that encourages me to keep diving in for more!
Yesterday, while enjoying a sunny day along the river, it was easy to be inspired as I read about Jesus’ miracle in this passage. At first glance, it seemed odd that Jesus was “giving thanks” in verse 41. That is because the reality of the situation was glaringly obvious with the need being great, while the supply so little compared to it. Jesus did not give thanks AFTER the supply had been multiplied and the need met.
He gave thanks BEFORE!
This insight begs further investigation.
Why would He be thankful while still in need, and with no prospect on the horizon for the needed resources?
That did not make sense to me. But I kept digging and asking God for clarity anyway. I had a sneaky suspicion He had a lesson for me to learn. This would just happen to apply to a current circumstance in my life.
4 lessons learned from Jesus
As I studied, four lessons emerged about what is involved in giving thanks and how it benefits our faith. Jesus teaches us here that giving thanks requires recognition of the Giver. It says in verse 41 that He looked up to heaven and then gave thanks. He exemplifies for us the first step in thanksgiving; recognizing to whom we are grateful and owe everything.
This reminds me of one of my favorite Bible verses. Romans 11:36 says, ” For from Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever! Amen.” Remembering this always benefits our faith as it reminds us of what our perspective should continually be. God! First and foremost! It is too easy to make more of His gifts than of Him if we are not careful. Therefore, this is a great reminder of Jesus to help focus our attention on what is most important.
Next, rejoicing in the sufficiency is seen as Jesus takes what He has, even though it does not seem enough by any stretch of the imagination, and gives thanks. This lesson is rooted in the sufficiency of the Giver more than the amount of the provision seen or potentially available. We see the Son rejoicing in the care and attention of an Almighty Father who loves without limits. He is the supplier of all our needs, from the greatest to the smallest. No detail is lost on Him. Jesus took what little He had and knew it was enough because God is trustworthy, more than ample to provide. We see 2 Corinthians 12:9 explaining the Lord’s strength is made perfect in our weakness.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Because of this confidence in the Father, He is responding in faith as He seeks to serve the crowd the food they are needing. He steps forward in ministry, trusting God to provide what is needed for His supply. He does not wait for the miracle BEFORE he seeks to serve. The act of giving thanks IS an exercise of faith. It requires our dependence on the Lord as we look to Him to provide what we need as we walk out our beliefs in His Name. Serving others demonstrates faith pure and simple.
Lastly, Jesus giving thanks teaches us about relinquishing responsibility. When we give thanks, we are committing ourselves to a greater Authority which gives us freedom and rest. We are His responsibility. Matthew 6:25-33 teaches us about God knowing our needs, how He is responsible for them as we seek first His kingdom and righteousness. We are looking for Him to meet these needs because He is our Abba Father.
Giving thanks becomes an act of faith even as we are in need of “more” in our circumstances. We need not be afraid to recognize the abundance in our life of faith while we hold out hope for what has yet to come.
In all things, give thanks!