And when the day began to wear away, then came the twelve, and said unto him, Send the multitude away, that they may go into the towns and country round about, and lodge, and get victuals: for we are here in a desert place. But he said unto them, Give ye them to eat. And they said, We have no more but five loaves and two fishes; except we should go and buy meat for all this people.
When the disciples bring up this need to Jesus, He puts it on them: “Give ye them to eat.” And so they take it as their responsibility to scrape together what little they have or to go and buy more. But it was so insufficient compared to what the situation would require. Doing it that way would never produce enough food to feed all the people that were there. They didn’t have enough, so they thought they would have to go out and buy, but even that was difficult and unlikely to solve this problem.
But Jesus didn’t really expect the disciples to produce enough food on their own for this multitude. He wanted them to trust Him, to look to Him, to have faith that He could do something beyond what they thought was possible. What had Jesus been trying to teach them all along but that He was sufficient, that He would supply, that they need only to look to Him in every situation to find help and the answer they needed. And time and time again, He would prove Himself faithful and able to supply every need.
Has Jesus asked something of us that seems impossible with the resources we have at our disposal? Has He given us a task that we know we don’t have enough to accomplish? Then it is not that He is depending on us to do it on our own. He doesn’t expect us to scrape together somehow whatever would be required. He wants us to depend on Him for it all. He wants us to trust Him in that task and believe that something can happen and that it will be accomplished when He is involved.
What do these kinds of situations teach us? Mostly that we can depend on God, but also that we have to depend on God. Without His involvement, so much would be left undone because we are just incapable and unable to handle the magnitude of it all. The test, then, in these kinds of situations we face is whether we will go off and try to solve it on our own or recognize our lack and inability and surrender it to Jesus. He will come through time and time again, and then we can be amazed at all that He does, and He will be glorified for His goodness and His sufficiency.