Does The Bible Teach Capitalism?

Matthew 20:1: For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard.

Matthew 20:2: And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard.

Matthew 20:3: And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace,

Matthew 20:4: And said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way.

Matthew 20:5: Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise.

Matthew 20:6: And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle?

Matthew 20:7: They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive.

Matthew 20:8: So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first.

Matthew 20:9: And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny.

Matthew 20:10: But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny.

Matthew 20:11: And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house,

Matthew 20:12: Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day.

Matthew 20:13: But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny?

Matthew 20:14: Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee.

Matthew 20:15: Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good?

Matthew 20:16: So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.

This passage is often used to justify capitalism and reject communism. While we all know the ill effects of communism and how it brings equal misery to everyone in society, to use the above passage to justify capitalism is ridiculous. This passage doesn’t teach capitalism at all. This couldn’t be further from the truth and an insult to scriptural revelation.

This passage concerns the kingdom of heaven and the harvest regarding this kingdom down through the ages. The main character is the householder, the good man of the house. This same householder, also in connection with the kingdom, is mentioned in three other places in the New Testament in the Book of Matthew.

Matthew 13:27: So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?

This householder wasn’t a capitalist but he suffered loss due to sabotage by enemies who sowed tares in his field. He didn’t even retaliate against those saboteurs.

A capitalist would immediately cut loss or take remedial action to correct the situation to preserve shareholder value of the enterprise. He would not sit idly by ignoring opportunity cost and allows his investment to be affected by his competitors.

Matthew 13:52: Then said he unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old.

This householder could be anyone instructed in the kingdom of heaven and he is not any kind of capitalist at all.

Matthew 21:33: Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country:

This householder has a vineyard. Having trouble collecting the fruits of his vineyard, he even sacrificed his son in the process. This is not the work of a capitalist.

Back to the passage in Matthew 20, the householder in question did not exhibit any trait of a capitalist. A capitalist is a profit maximiser and a cost minimiser. In fact, everyone in general is a profit maximiser and a cost minimiser.

He had contracted the first batch of workers for a penny a day. For the other batches of workers, he only promised them what was right compensation for them. Came payment time, those who worked for only one hour received the same compensation with the first batch of workers who toiled through the entire day.

If he were a capitalist, would he compensate this group of workers who worked only for an hour the same wages with those who worked the whole day? Haven’t capitalists been moving jobs to lower cost countries to maximize profit? To force this passage to teach capitalism is to strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.

More importantly, this way of teaching scriptures distorts very important truths this passage has to reveal. Though this passage concerns harvest time only for a day, the kingdom of heaven does not imply only a one day harvest. The general truths of the harvest includes first fruits, the general harvest and the gleanings.

The first batch of workers entered the work to harvest the first fruits. Then followed by other batches reaping the general harvest. Finally, it was left with gleanings for the last batch of workers.

The first batch of workers enjoyed the first fruits of the vineyard. This was joyous time indeed. Then followed by the rest of the workers labouring in the general harvest. Harvest was plentiful and rewarding and not too difficult though labouring longer hours in the vineyard.

Come to the gleanings, there were not much left to harvest. It could be rather discouraging. The happy joyous fruitful harvest is long gone left with some fruits here and there, a rather pathetic sight. This makes harvesting more difficult and discouraging.

Towards the tail end of the harvest, productivity is rather low. Yet, the householder rewarded these workers just the same as those workers who worked the whole day. This does not seem fair. This is definitely not the practice of a capitalist.

This gives rise to comparison. The first batch of workers were bellyaching. They expected to be paid more when they realized those workers who worked for only an hour received a penny. They started to compare themselves with this group of workers. They didn’t compare themselves with those who worked only three hours less who also received a penny. This is the trait of fallen human nature.

Everyone would compare and exaggerate to his advantage and benefit. In fact, everyone is a profit maximiser and a cost minimiser and a capitalist at heart. Their sense of fairness is man-centric. The starting point is myself as a basis for fairness. Self entitlement mentality is very strong.

They would never think how good the householder is who rewarded those who worked only an hour so much more than they deserved. They would never praise the good and generous nature of the householder but wallow in self pity and misery.

Indeed the householder did not cheat them at all. They had all agreed to labour for a penny a day. The rest did not get a contract but trusted the householder to reward them.

This is a double-edged sword. Their trust in the householder could be misplaced and get cheated. There was no contractual obligation for the householder to reward them a penny like the first batch of workers. They could get considerably less than this first batch of workers and there would be no recourse for them.

So if the rest of the workers get very much less in remuneration, the first batch of workers would be happy and count themselves fortunate who have a contract to fall back on to demand just compensation. This is another evil trait of the fallen human nature. They would not rejoice with those who get more than they deserve but would be happy for all to suffer in equal misery, better still if others suffer misfortune.

Hence, the rest of those workers who entered the work based on faith and trust that this householder would not cheat them were rewarded. So it comes down to the attitude of these men when they were hired into the work. Those who left only an hour to work could have found the work left to perform not very lucrative and not worth their effort and turn down the offer to work based on the goodness and generosity of this householder.

After all, how much could they make for just an hour left to labour? Why not wait for better opportunity the next day? Is it worth the trouble to dirty their hands for this last hour of labour? They could turn out to be those described by Solomon giving excuses not to labour.

Ecclesiastes 11:4: He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap.

Nevertheless, those who entered into the work even though it was just an hour of work left to perform were handsomely rewarded. It is very easy to justify inaction based on a self-centered approach.

In this actual world we live in, to work without a contract is dangerous. You could be taken advantaged and cheated by the employer. If such an offer to work comes your way, it is a judgment call whether this employer could be trusted. But the householder here in Matthew 20 is the Lord of harvest offering those who labour for Him to be rewarded what is right.

This harvest concerns preaching the gospel of Christ. During the early Church Age, thousands were saved. Those who toiled through the heat of the day saw their harvest and were rewarded down through the ages to the Reformation. This first batch of labourers secured compensation for their effort and their rewards were confirmed.

Matthew 19:27: Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?

Matthew 19:28: And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

It is the time of gleaning now where the labour is hard and discouraging. The vineyard is almost bare and the fields of the world are really pathetic. Fruitful harvest is long gone. Labouring without much fruitfulness is not very exciting and encouraging. How many are still willing to enter into the Lord’s vineyard to labour in the eleventh hour?

Luke 18:8: I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?

Notwithstanding, those who are willing to labour during the eleventh hour during difficult circumstances, they will not be disappointed because the Lord is always generous to reward even the underserving. Those who labour during the first hour are rewarded and likewise those who labour in the final hour will not lose their rewards if they are willing to enter into the work of the Lord.

Matthew 20:16: So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.

2 Timothy 4:8: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

To equate the householder in this passage as an exploitative profit driven capitalist is to impinge his good character and an insult to the highest order. It does not do justice to what this passage has to teach.

Failing to consider the goodness of the person of the householder, the state of the vineyard at different period of time, the nature of the harvest, the state of mind and conditions of the workers during different time in evaluating profitability of the labour involved as well as the types of employment contract offered, concluding this passage teaches capitalism is going off on a tangent.

More importantly, the prophetic nature of the harvest throughout the Church Age with regards to the gospel of Christ becomes non existent when this passage is used to teach capitalism alone. Church history clearly shows the state of harvest beginning from the first fruits through the general harvest to the state of gleanings. The seven letters issued to the seven churches in the Book of Revelation also reveal the state of the last days church wallowing in lukewarmness where the harvest is soon to conclude.

Hence, it is foolish to interpret scriptures to support man-made theories and systems in the world. Failing to study Biblical economics that include a Jubilee to reset the economy in the world will tend to lead to the erroneous idea of the superiority of capitalism that must be defended at all cost including perverting scriptures to justify this end.

It is instructional to heed the state of our times in Church history and to know the conditions we are labouring under to avoid falling into discouragement and despair when we see so little left to harvest where productivity is very low. Economics text book calls this period of time the state of diminishing returns.

It may not seem worthwhile to labour anymore during this final hour of the harvest. However, the Lord’s rewards are certain and sure though the fruitful harvest experienced by those before us may seem to have reaped abundantly while we do not achieve very much.

Jeremiah 8:20: The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.

Psalms 126:5: They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.

Psalms 126:6: He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.

Revelation 22:12: And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.


The Danger of Selective Listening

It is very common to listen to what we would like to hear. This however, is very dangerous, especially concerning spiritual matters. We could go off on a tangent and miss important doctrines and truth if we approach scriptures with preconceived biases and try to fit scriptures within the framework of our own understanding or suit our own narratives.

A pertinent case in point is the episode where the Lord blasted Peter calling him Satan for saying something that was completely contrary to the will of God.

Matthew 16:18: And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Matthew 16:19: And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

Matthew 16:20: Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.

Matthew 16:21: From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.

Peter was initially told he was given the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Next, the Lord’s revelation about His sufferings, death and resurrection upset Peter so much that he was so audacious to rebuke the Lord.

Matthew 16:22: Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.

What did Peter miss or misunderstand that caused him to impose his will on the Lord Jesus Christ?

Peter must have gone over his head for being told he was given the keys of the kingdom of heaven!

Was he trying to exercise the powers of those keys given to him to bind and loose earthly matters concerning the kingdom and expect endorsement from heaven?

It was so strange for Peter to do what he did here as though he could lord over the Lord.

What offended Peter so much that he just blew his top to rebuke the Lord?

Peter and the other disciples had been following the Lord for quite some time. They had witnessed first hand all those miracles performed and ministering to thousands who came to hear the Lord preached.

A revolution was about to take place under Roman occupation of their homeland. It was promising and got the attention of the ruling religious elite who came to question the Lord. People were talking about the Lord trying to figure out who Jesus was.

Matthew 16:13: When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?

Matthew 16:14: And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.

Everyone was intrigued about the Lord. He was doing extraordinary things no man could do. This put the religious elite to shame who constantly confronted the Lord but the common man followed the Lord. So this question was put to the Lord’s disciples.

Matthew 16:15: He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?

Without hesitation Peter confessed and gave the absolutely correct answer. The Lord Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God.

Matthew 16:16: And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

Confession is one thing but faith and self-will are something else. These disciples including Peter had been following the Lord day in and day out and had become so familiar with Him. It is so easy to take the Lord for granted and treat Him like one of them.

They were full of optimism concerning the kingdom with their Messiah physically with them who could do all things; healing the sick, cast out devils, rebuke the wind to still the storm and even walk on water. What is stopping them to share the glory of the coming kingdom and Roman occupation would become a thing of the past when the Son of David finally sits on His throne in Jerusalem?

The evidence of the coming coronation was apparently so evident that the Lord had to get out of the way.

John 6:14: Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world.

John 6:15: When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.

The disciples surely feel the same way too. They were already jostling for power even before the Lord ascends the throne.

Luke 9:46: Then there arose a reasoning among them, which of them should be greatest.

Mark 10:35: And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, come unto him, saying, Master, we would that thou shouldest do for us whatsoever we shall desire.

Mark 10:36: And he said unto them, What would ye that I should do for you?

Mark 10:37: They said unto him, Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory.

Some time later Peter even wanted to know their rewards for following the Lord.

Matthew 19:27: Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?

Hence the kingdom was very real to these disciples. They were expecting the arrival of the kingdom. John the Baptist was disillusioned too when he was in prison and sent disciples to ask whether the Lord was indeed the Messiah or should they look for another.

Matthew 11:2: Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples,

Matthew 11:3: And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?

As far as John the Baptist was concerned who manifest Christ to Israel, if the kingdom was so real, why should he be languishing in prison? Unfortunately, the message the Lord sent to him might not be what he liked to hear.

Matthew 11:6: And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.

Of course in the flesh John the Baptist could be offended in circumstances that turned out the way he least expected. There was no message of comfort or deliverance for him.

So Peter and the rest of the disciples were truly looking forward to the coming kingdom. Now with Peter given the keys of the kingdom of heaven, a great confirmation no doubt, but with the revelation of the Lord’s impending sufferings, death and resurrection, this threw the future of the kingdom into great uncertainty.

Peter was definitely offended.

What the Lord revealed were three folds. Firstly His sufferings, followed by His death and then His eventual resurrection on the third day.

What did Peter actually missed hearing? Did he ignore the last part about the Lord’s resurrection?

Was his focus only on the Lord’s sufferings and death? This would be obviously not something he would like to hear.

What is so good about the keys of the kingdom of heaven when their Messiah the King of the Jews would suffer and die?

What could the keys do when the King is no longer around?

What is there glory to share in the future?

Peter’s selective listening to what the Lord revealed was causing this outburst to get out of hand. For conveniently ignoring the Lord’s eventual resurrection, the Lord’s plan of salvation for the whole world, his chastisement came fast and furious.

Matthew 16:23: But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.

It is noteworthy here that Peter turned Satan for that moment when he sought to impose his will on the Lord’s will. Peter in his self-will was looking through the lens of the flesh and not the eyes of faith.

It is important to realize that even believers in the Lord are not out of reach from the Devil if the Lord so allows it. In fact, Peter was always the main target and was right in the Devil’s crosshairs.

Luke 22:31: And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:

Luke 22:32: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.

Satan is actively desiring and planning to touch God’s people but the Lord is also actively countering his every move. Notwithstanding, some believers would pay a price for their folly when they allow Satan to play a role in their life.

Acts 5:3: But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?

Acts 5:4: Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.

Acts 5:5: And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things.

The difference here is Peter being called Satan survived while Ananias dropped dead after Peter rebuked him for allowing Satan to fill his heart to lie to the Holy Ghost.

The Lord’s furious rebuke of Peter is instructional here.

Peter was not simply trying to protect the Lord and prevent His sufferings and death but his lack of faith in the resurrection.

If Peter failed to heed the Lord’s revelation of His resurrection on the third day, then Peter indeed could not hide his disappointment concerning the coming kingdom. They had left all and followed the Lord and if the kingdom turned out to be a piped dream, it would be disastrous to all these followers of Christ.

In fact, after the Lord’s death, the disciples were indeed disillusioned.

Luke 24:18: And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?

Luke 24:19: And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people:

Luke 24:20: And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him.

Luke 24:21: But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done.

The hopes of the kingdom were gone when the Lord died and everyone was trying to move on from this sorry episode. Euphemism gave way to despondence.

Even Peter went back to his fishing business when their Messiah the King was no longer around and the rest followed him.

John 21:2: There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples.

John 21:3: Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing.

So Peter’s strong reaction to the Lord’s revelation concerns the issue of resurrection in the context of the kingdom.

Without death how can there be a resurrection? But Peter was standing in the way of the cross by his own understanding and self-will.

Regarding the issue of resurrection, the Jews do believe there is a resurrection. But this is a fuzzy idea where the present reality of a resurrection is not something so easy to grasp. They had seen the Lord raised the dead but apparently, they were still grappling with this issue. The raising of Lazarus is a case in point.

John 11:22: But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.

John 11:23: Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again.

John 11:24: Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.

The Jews believe in the resurrection at the last day but not the present day. And Martha did not believe his brother could rise again that day in which he did.

So the Lord had to drill into the disciples concerning this issue of the resurrection. The message of dying is gain takes centre stage.

Matthew 16:24: Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

Matthew 16:25: For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

Matthew 16:26: For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

Dying is gain is a strange concept to the world. Followers of Christ must practise self-denial and bear the cross to stay spiritually profitable.

There is no point entering the kingdom with our corruptible body of flesh and blood. The Lord has a better plan for His people.

The resurrection of Christ should be the central theme and His sufferings and death are just signposts but for selective listeners, they miss the forest for the trees. Selective listening by ignoring the most important part of the entire message brings fear and confusion.

Thus, the Lord had to reiterate His subsequent coming in glory with rewards for every man to assure His disciples.

Matthew 16:27: For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.

Moreover, the Lord is always and ever gracious despite the lack of faith and self-will of His people. The Lord promised some of the disciples present would experience the glory that should come in their earthly life.

Matthew 16:28: Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.

This culminated in the transfiguration of the Lord on the mountain with Moses and Elijah where Peter, James and John had the privilege to have a glimpse of the world to come.

Matthew 17:1: And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart,

Matthew 17:2: And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.

Matthew 17:3: And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him.

As such, beware of selective listening, especially concerning the spiritual things of God. This would lead to trouble, confusion and fear. There might be things we do not like to hear from the Holy Bible that do not fit into our intellect, our upbringing, our own understanding and preference, but we have to accept the whole counsel of God by faith.

With eyes of faith, we should look to the glorious world to come and the things in this life would turn strangely dim.

John 5:25: Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.


Thinking out of the Earth

Very often, we have been told to think out of the box to come out with innovative solution to deal with some difficult situation or solve some tough problem. For earthly situation within human control, this might work but there will be times where all human effort would prove to be elusive where the problem would still remain within the box beyond all human intervention.

There is case in point regarding the feeding of the thousands where the disciples of the Lord were offered a chance to think out of the box for a solution but they all ended up boxed in by the problem. No solution was found until they gave up thinking out of the box.

Consider the situation here when the Lord offered them a chance to come up with an innovative solution to solve the hunger situation of the followers who came the hear the preaching of the Lord.

Matthew 14:14: And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.
Matthew 14:15: And when it was evening, his disciples came to him, saying, This is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals.
Matthew 14:16: But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat.
Matthew 14:17: And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes.

Mark 6:35: And when the day was now far spent, his disciples came unto him, and said, This is a desert place, and now the time is far passed:
Mark 6:36: Send them away, that they may go into the country round about, and into the villages, and buy themselves bread: for they have nothing to eat.
Mark 6:37: He answered and said unto them, Give ye them to eat. And they say unto him, Shall we go and buy two hundred pennyworth of bread, and give them to eat?

John 6:5: When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?
John 6:6: And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do.
John 6:7: Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little.
John 6:8: One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, saith unto him,
John 6:9: There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?

It was a futile situation beyond all human hope. How could the multitudes be fed? We could sense the disciples reacting in frustration. The response from the disciples sums up their conclusion.

It was an impossible task. It was a mission impossible. No matter how much brain juice they could squeeze to think out of the box, it was not going to be of any help and make any difference to those people waiting to be fed.

The people in this world would criticize the disciples for lacking in helicopter vision. They were all looking horizontally being bogged down by the cares of the ministries and they forgot to look up. All human endeavour matters nothing for a situation like this.

What they really needed was to think out of the earth. They should view the situation from above to solve this earthly problem. They had forgotten they had the Lord with them who came from above. Who else could provide a solution to solve this hunger situation better than the Lord?

They had been so accustomed to watching all the miraculous healings that were taking place among the people including casting out of devils beyond human intervention but why they failed to rely on the Lord was another symptom of human weakness, albeit followers of Christ. They were becoming too familiar with the Lord just as another ordinary man among them, a miracle worker no doubt.

It was only after the episode of the Lord walking on water towards them where Peter tried and failed when he left his eyes on the Lord to focus on the boisterous wind instead that the disciples worshipped the Lord with this confession.

Matthew 14:33: Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.

The disciples got distracted and couldn’t see beyond the horizon. In fact, the situation the disciples had to deal with was nothing new. Prophet Elisha encountered one such similar situation though smaller in scale.

2 Kings 4:42: And there came a man from Baal-shalisha, and brought the man of God bread of the firstfruits, twenty loaves of barley, and full ears of corn in the husk thereof. And he said, Give unto the people, that they may eat.
2 Kings 4:43: And his servitor said, What, should I set this before an hundred men? He said again, Give the people, that they may eat: for thus saith the LORD, They shall eat, and shall leave thereof.
2 Kings 4:44: So he set it before them, and they did eat, and left thereof, according to the word of the LORD.

Didn’t the disciples know of this account from their Old Testament? Given the fact that the scribes and priests were custodians of the scriptures, if they didn’t know of such an account, it reflected the spiritual poverty of the people during that time. It shouldn’t come as a surprise though because the religious authority during that time had conclusively rejected Christ as their Messiah. If the religious elite didn’t know any better, then the common people won’t fare much better as well.

Nevertheless, the disciples should know how the children of Israel who came out of Egypt were fed with manna from above for forty years. Getting too busy and too tired can cause anyone to forget past victory and blessings. So no solution could come from the disciples concerning this situation of the feeding of the thousands, but another monumental miracles documented for all posterity to remember the power and goodness of the Lord.

It is so easy to get distracted by all the cares in this life even though some activities are legitimate concerning ministering to the saints. This can cause our eyes to look at earthly solution instead of looking for divine intervention when face with difficult situation and troublesome problem.

Our spiritual posture should be one of looking up instead of looking around. Much more can be done by looking to the Lord with steadfast faith than to rely on our fallen mind for wisdom and knowledge. They will surely fail.

Instead of thinking out of the box, it is better to think out of the earth and look to the Lord for help.