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.


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