I love being around crowds. I love cities and crowded restaurants. I love mingling with people after church on Sundays.
But all of that exhausts me.
Am I an introvert or extrovert?
I’ve heard it said that the extrovert is energised by being around people where the introvert is energised by being alone.
As much as I love the crowd, I am not energised by it. Having space to breathe, alone, energises me. I need to be alone. A lot.
That’s why I love the fact that Jesus withdrew with his disciples after they had been out on mission. He took some time with them to be alone. Sounds great…
But they were interrupted.
The crowd had found them.
Does anyone else hate that? I hate that. The last thing I would want is a bunch of leeches sapping me of more of whatever they want from me. And Jesus could have rightfully said,
“Look guys, we came here on retreat. We need this time to reflect. Much as I love you, you can’t just burst in on this staff development time I’m having with my disciples. In fact, because I love you I’m going to teach you a lesson about respecting other people’s privacy…”
That’s not what Jesus did.
Jesus welcomed them. And this wasn’t just a polite welcome with a hope that they would soon go away.
In my last job I might get a knock on the door. Someone might want to talk. I might be in the middle of something important. I would “welcome” them. Because it’s the right thing to do. Honestly, sometimes I’d be hoping they’d go away soon.
But Jesus really welcomed them.
“…Jesus welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God and healed all those who needed healing” (Luke 9:11)
Always with the preaching and healing Jesus.
And it wasn’t a token word for the crowd to keep them quiet and a quick token miracle.
We’re told this went on late into the afternoon (Luke 9:12).
When to dismiss the crowd
That’s when the disciples decide to remind Jesus that it’s late and these people need food and if they’ve travelled far, a place to stay.
The disciples want to dismiss the crowd but Jesus wants to feed them.
So we get the now famous feeding of the 5000 miracle.
How bad do I feel now? I wanted to dismiss the crowd on several occasions but Jesus kept on feeding them.
Who does the feeding?
But notice one thing. Jesus did the miracle. He broke the bread. The disciples distributed what Jesus had done.
If you’re in any kind of ministry of position to serve, please don’t try to multiply the loaves in your own strength. If Jesus wants you to feed people, he will provide the bread.
Be an introvert. Spend time away with Jesus. And when the interruption comes, expect him to feed the crowd.
Your job is to distribute the blessing, not to conjure it up.