Failing Followers: paralyzed by the need {Blogging though the Bible} | The Speckled Goat: Failing Followers: paralyzed by the need {Blogging though the Bible}


Failing Followers: paralyzed by the need {Blogging though the Bible}

gospel of mark devotion jesus feeds the five thousand what do we do about the brokenness in the world

In the morning, I wake to the sound of my phone alarm chimes or to my son cooing in his crib next to me. The sunlight streams through the window to my room, and as I greet the day, everything is quiet and calm. It's a far cry from my college years- living in the heart of the city with car horns and sirens breaking the stillness. Back then, there were people who lived just on the other side of a thin wall, or a stone's throw across a dingy alleyway, and now my closest neighbors are almost a mile away (if you don't count the cows).

And yet, the world seems noisier somehow.

Especially this past week.

I open my computer, or turn on my phone, and the peace of my cozy little haven is shattered, crashed in on by the hurt. By the need.

Because our world, my friends? Our world is loud and it is needy.

There is so much hurt.

Disease, abuse, injury, abortion, gun violence, pornography, homelessness, poverty, loneliness, infertility, homicide, divorce... the list goes on and on and on.

It's incredibly overwhelming, to the point that I have to take breaks from being online, from reading the news, even from my church prayer list. It gets too be too much.

And the voices! The voices are so, so loud. Everyone has a big opinion, everyone has an offense to air, everyone has something to say about how someone else or something else should be blamed (guns are bad, video games are bad, elected officials are bad, sex education is bad, our mental health care is bad). Yes, there is a lot that needs changing, but oh, we're so good at pointing fingers and saying lots of words and so bad at actually finding the solutions.

There are so many needs, so many hurts, so many voices. And so, I hide in my own little haven and do nothing.

Because it's too overwhelming.

"By this time, it was late in the day, so his disciples came to him. 'This is a remote place,' they said, 'and it's already very late. Send the people away so they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.' But he answered them, 'You give them something to eat.'" - Mark 6:35-37

The disciples are tired. Earlier in this passage, we see that Jesus had planned to give them a break, some rest, a chance to eat, but the crowds followed and Jesus cared and so they kept on serving. And now it's late, they're tired, and everyone is hungry.

There's an enormous, noisy need. And so the disciples ask Jesus to send the people away.

But Jesus tells them- You feed them.

You feed them. You see the need, now meet the need.

I wonder if the disciples just stared at him.

Look at them! Look at the sheer number of people who are hungry! How?

"They said to him, 'That would take eight months of a man's wages! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?'" -Mark 6:37

The disciples are looking for practical ways to do this crazy impossible thing. Okay, so, hungry people... let's buy bread. But that's insane. It's irresponsible, it's unsustainable. Buy bread today, and they'll be hungry again tomorrow.
"'How many loaves do you have?' he asked. 'Go and see." When they found out, they said, 'Five, and two fish.'" 
"Then Jesus directed the people to sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties. Taking the five loaves and two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to set before the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. 
They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish."- Mark 6:

Jesus looks at his failing followers- paralyzed by the need in front of them, feeling powerless, empty, and small.

And he asks what they have.

He takes it, gives thanks, looks to heaven, and provides enough from their little to feed everyone, with more food to spare. Abundance from scarcity. Much from little.

And I will tell you that I believe this story to be true. That I think that this actually, literally happened.

But in the same breath, I will admit that oh, the need that stares us down? The hunger that gnaws at the people around us? The darkness in the hearts and minds of so, so many? I'm paralyzed by it.

It seems absolutely impossible to fix the issues in my town, much less the problems in our culture or our world. And I look out, beyond the realm of my small life, my small influence, and the need is so great. I just want to send them away. They can feed themselves, they'll figure it out. Someone who is smarter, more caring, more skilled than I am can find the solutions. I am too small to really do anything. It's paralyzing.

But Jesus says, "You give them something to eat."

And so I look for ways to do that. I desperately want practical solutions to all the pain around me. Desperately.

Laws, regulations, rules. I want everything to be fixed with legislation or increased security or one big donation check.

I am so good at pointing to someone else, to something else, to fix the problems. I am so good at getting angry or offended or telling you that your solution, whatever it is, is wrong. I can be a loud voice of dissent and blame, I can seek out practical solutions that simply patch up the brokenness in front of me.

But it doesn't work. Laws, regulations, rules, money, even education are just ways to treat the symptoms. Fed today, hungry again tomorrow.

So I look to what Jesus said asked of his twelve.

What do you have? And if I'm being totally honest, my hands look so empty.

Until I remember.

Until I remember who I am. Where I live.

I am one in whom Christ dwells, and I live in the unshakable Kingdom of God.

It means that I have the solution.


Jesus is the only one who can fix everything that's broken. And somewhere deep inside me, I think that it's too simple, that it's not enough. I still look for the practical solutions, the laws, the government, the step by step instructions for saving the world.

But if I am who I say I am, and if I believe what I say I believe, and Christ is enough for me, then isn't he enough for the whole world? The one who holds the power of the universe, the one who cares about each of us? He saved me- brought me from darkness to light, from brokenness to healing. And he will do the same for the whole world.

I have Jesus, and he is enough.

Here's the thing- laws and regulations and organizations and charities are good, helpful, impactful... but they are not going to save the world. 

Only Christ can do that.

And so I take what I have- this small, limited understanding of who Jesus is and what he's done-- and share it with the hungry.

It doesn't look like much.

Five loaves, two fish.

But I trust the One who fed the five thousand, the One who delights in using my weakness for his strength, the One who makes abundance from my scarcity. He will do a miracle and make much from my little.

Honestly, I still feel like I should give some practical solutions to the hurt of the world, or promote a platform or get on a soapbox.

But maybe that's the problem.

Maybe instead of sharing my opinions, I need to be better at sharing Christ.  
Instead of being known for my stance on the issues, I need to be known for my reliance on Jesus. 
Instead of being the loudest voice, I need to listen better to the still small voice.

What about you?

Are you discouraged by the incredible need around you? Do you feel like a certain person or a specific situation is hopeless? Is the hurt of the world louder than the truth of God's word? Is the need so overwhelming, so paralyzing, that you are simply doing nothing?

Are you looking to laws, governments, or something else as as the ultimate solution to save us, or are you looking at the Savior himself? Do your Facebook friends know more about your politics than they know about your faith?

Friends, as Christians, we have the solution. The ultimate solution.

And we are the light-bringers.

Let's stop being paralyzed by the enormity of the pain, and start doing what we're called to do in this world.

And so I'm asking God to take my fumbling and my failure and teach me to follow better. To remember that He takes my small offering and makes it abundant. I'm asking that He would keep me grounded in the truth that He is enough and Christ alone is the answer. Because this need that's in front of us? It's not too big for God.

...   ...   ...

This post is part of the Blogging through the Bible link up!

Members of my Blogging through the Bible group have each chosen a book of the Bible to study and write about! This is a fun opportunity to get to know more Christian bloggers, and to dig deeper with them into God's Word!

Please stop by some of these blogs to read what they have to share today!

(If you're interested in joining in on the link up, I encourage you to join the Facebook Group!)

Related Posts:

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  1. I get paralyzed when I take my eyes off of God and just keep looking at all the evil and heartbreak in our world. My prayers are powerful. Thank you for your post! ❤

  2. This was an amazing post. You are absolutely right: instead of anything else, I need to be better at sharing Christ. Thank you for the reminder!

  3. We do, at least most of us, get paralyzed by fear when we share our faith in God with others. But like you said, in our weakness, Jesus gets to be strong! He will put the right words in our mouth for every situation if we give each situation to Him. We all play a different role in the lives of those we meet...we plant the seed, water the seed or reap the harvest. Rarely do we plant, water and harvest. We rarely see the impact our words and actions will have on others, but each word or action has the same impact on a life that a pebble tossed in the middle of a pond...the ripples go on and on to the shore. Keep making ripples for the Lord!

  4. This is a thought provoking post! We cannot allow ourselves to become distracted by things we have not control over; we have to put our trust in the One who knows how to handle that which is beyond our reach as well as give us during our time of need.

  5. This is such a needed and amazing post. It's so true that everyone wants to point fingers and blame for our hurting world. In the end, the truth is that we live in a broken world and our Father has provided the only solution and hope in Jesus. Let us praise him and point the world to his redeeming love! Thank you for this encouragement.

  6. Ally, I love the truth you have drawn from this story. Like you, I believe it's true and yet it is easy to be overwhelmed or point the finger. But the truth is, Jesus is the answer, the only answer, and we need to share Him with a hurting, desperate world! I'll be pinning and sharing your post.