Each time I read the story of how our Lord Jesus Christ fed five thousand people with five loaves of bread and two fish in the gospels (see Jn. 6.1-15), certain contextual thoughts always play-out in my mind. The drama has nothing to do with the miracle itself but the administration of thesame. In John 6:11, we see that the distribution of the meals to the crowd after they had been blessed and multiplied by the MASTER was done by the disciples. So, I always ask myself: Which group in the crowd benefited first from the manna since it was highly likely that both the the givers and the receivers of meals were all hungry after a long session of ministry that day?
Was it the Lord Jesus himself, his disciples, or the multitude? I believe very strongly that it was the crowd that benefited first from the manna. In fact, the Bible hinted that the meals were served first from the Lord Jesus Christ to His disciples and from the disciples immediately to the multitude (Jn. 6:11). Now compare this “simple” acts of love, selflessness, obedience, and humility displayed by the disciples of Christ to what we see in our churches, families, offices, institutions, government, and society today.
Today, in our context, we would think that those disciples were a bunch “fools”, and had acted abnormally. What would have happened to those meals if we were to be the distributors nowadays. Here, you will see our kind of “disciples of Christ” keep the better part of the meals under our chairs or in our lockers first. Then, you will see us secretly call-out our spouses, children, immediate and extended family members, friends, and neighbours out of the multitude to a special location for settlement first, just in case the meals would not go round the multitude.
How would the manna ever go round the crowd when a better part of it had been diverted by those who were entrusted with the administration of thesame? The established leadership mentality here is: “settle thyself first.” Whereas, that of the Kingdom of Christ is, delight thine MASTER by settling others first. We all are witnesses to what the “settle thyself first” leadership mentality has done us as individuals, as a church, and collectively as a people.
Did the disciples of Christ even benefitted from the miracle? Perhaps from the left-overs (Jn. 6:12-13). Haba! They were even the ones responsible for gathering the fragments after the multitude had enjoyed the awoof and left the scene. This is hard, menh! Would this “miracle” have happened in our context, in the first place? How many of us leaders of today care whether people around us are hungry or not?
Some us will even use our “anointing” or our privileged leadership offices to “rob” the people of their loaves of bread and fish instead of multiplying them for their benefits . We plunder God’s people instead of tendering them. We wreck them instead of building them. We live fat on them instead of sharing the “fat” with them. We enjoy being served first, and taking the lion share; instead of seeing to the holistic wellbeing of our followers first. Is this ministry or misery? Save our souls, Oh God, we plead!