I like plans. I am much more comfortable when I have a plan, especially if it is my own plan. I even like planning and considering options, contingencies, and logistics. I can only imagine the horror that Phillip felt when Jesus turned to him and said, “So what’s your plan to feed all these people?” Phillip didn’t have a plan. He couldn’t even conceive of a plan to feed five thousand plus people in the middle of nowhere with no preparation. He responded the only way that he could, “There’s just no way.”
Fortunately, Jesus already had a plan. He knew what He was going to do. Just as God had fed the Israelites in the wilderness with manna, God would feed these people in the wilderness. Just as Elisha had fed one hundred men with twenty barley loaves, Jesus would feed thousands with just five barley loaves and two fish. Just as the people complained to Moses wanting meat and Moses called out in words similar to Jesus’ question to Phillip, the people gathered around Jesus would soon want meat. Instead of quail, Jesus would provide Himself. This was all part of the plan. (See Numbers 11; 2 Kings 4:42-44)
We are part of this plan, too. Paul tells us that we are “created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Indeed, we are knit together in Christ and empowered by the Holy Spirit to walk and work in this plan. What I am trying to learn and accept is that while I am part of the plan, I am not the planner.
I can easily picture myself on that hillside on the shore of the Sea of Galilee asking questions, counting people, worrying about flour and oil, assigning fire building and cooking tasks. That would be my plan, but Jesus was planning something even greater. He gave simple assignments to the disciples, “have the people sit” and “hand this out” and “gather what is left.” Then, He took what was at hand, an admittedly small amount of the food of the poor, and He gave thanks, broke the bread, and gave it to them. All the people ate and more was left over than what He started with.
I can easily get lost in all the tasks, chores, opportunities, and problems around me. I can worry about how I can get everything done. It can seem so impossible at times that worry turns into despair and paralysis. I wonder if sometimes God does this to test me because He already knows what He will do. In these times, Jesus calls me and says, “Take, eat. This is my Body given for you,” and “This is my Blood shed for you. Drink it.” Even in the most difficult and uncertain times, these are simple tasks are prepared for us to walk in to the glory of God.