I’ve been preaching through the gospel of Mark on Sunday mornings. Mark, perhaps more than the other gospel writers, wants the readers to see the disciples as the boneheads they were at times. So as you are reading through the gospel you can really shake your head at the disciples—wondering how in the world they could be so dense.
In Mark 8 you’ve got the disciples on a boat freaking out because they forgot to bring enough bread. And this comes after Jesus had fed 5,000 and also after he has fed 4,000. He did all of this with a few measly loaves of bread and a couple fish. How in the world the disciples are freaking out about this when Jesus is right there in the boat with them is beyond me.
And then I remember that I too am a total bonehead at times. I haven’t witnessed with my own eyes Jesus turning a couple loaves into enough to feed 5,000 but I have watched him take my paltry check as a youth pastor and feed my family.
On one occasion (this was some 7-8 years ago) my wife and I had an unexpected bill come up. There was no way that we could pay it, but if we didn’t then my wife would have to drop out of school. As we prayed through this, I came up with a solution. I’d ask for about a months advance on my pay and we’d eat eggs and Jell-o for the next month. On my way over to the secretaries office, I was met by the pastor who handed me an envelope. With absolutely no knowledge of our need some folks in a prayer meeting felt led to throw together their resources. Inside this envelope was enough cash to cover our unexpected expense and an additional $20 to take my wife out for dinner. (And this isn’t the only time).
I’ve watched God do unthinkable things. And yet, like the disciples, I have serious bonehead moments. I get stressed out wondering how things are going to come together. I have sleepless nights thinking about the management of His church. I have to come to grips with the fact that I’m in the boat with the disciples, probably leading the freak-out during the bread crisis. (And that’s not it).
Boneheads, the whole lot of us. But as I read through Mark this week, I started thinking about the whole story. Jesus never gave up on the disciples. And I see that in my own life as well. I see how my weak faith is able to lay hold of a strong Christ. I see with the disciples that the key thing was really their union with Christ and so long as their in union with Christ then everything is eventually going to be okay.
This whole thing reminds of a scene from The Chronicles of Narnia. After a long time away from Aslan, Lucy speaks to the great lion who is the Christ-figure in Lewis’ tale.
“‘Welcome child’, he said. ‘Aslan,’ said Lucy, ‘you’re bigger.’ ‘That is because you are older, little one,’ answered he. ‘Not because you are?’ ‘I am not. But every year you grow, you will find me bigger.’” C. S. Lewis, from The Chronicles of Narnia, Book 2 — Prince Caspian
Every year you grow, you will find me bigger.
That’s my prayer, that every year we grow we’ll find him to be bigger. Here in this boat, the disciples weren’t quite there yet. But every year they grew they found him to be bigger and he’d blow their minds. And what’s amazing and marvelous—I bet, though they’ve been gone from this earth now for some 2,000 years and spending it in the unadulterated presence of the Lord—I almost bet this still rings true—every year you grow, you will find me bigger.