The Pharisees went to Jesus and began to argue with him. They tested him by demanding that he perform a miraculous sign from heaven.
12 With a deep sigh he asked, “Why do these people demand a sign? I can guarantee this truth: If these people are given a sign, it will be far different than what they want!”
13 Then he left them there.
He got into a boat again and crossed to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. 14 The disciples had forgotten to take any bread along and had only one loaf with them in the boat.
15 Jesus warned them, “Be careful! Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and the yeast of Herod!”
16 They had been discussing with one another that they didn’t have any bread.
17 Jesus knew what they were saying and asked them, “Why are you discussing the fact that you don’t have any bread? Don’t you understand yet? Don’t you catch on? Are your minds closed? 18 Are you blind and deaf? Don’t you remember? 19 When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets did you fill with leftover pieces?”
They told him, “Twelve.”
20 “When I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many large baskets did you fill with leftover pieces?”
They answered him, “Seven.”
21 He asked them, “Don’t you catch on yet?” – Mark 8:11-23
I am with the disciples. In the ordinary things of life, I don’t count on miraculous intervention from God. Seems they didn’t either. They had just seen the miraculous feeding of more than 4000 people with a few fish and loaves of bread. They had gathered up the remnants after the meal: 7 large baskets of leftovers. But that was then. This is now. And they’ve forgotten to bring bread for this journey back across the Sea of Galilee.
But when they discover that they had only a half a loaf of bread between them all, they began to argue.
- I thought you were going to bring the bread!
- No! You told John you had it handled.
- Yes, but I meant that you had promised to bring the bread.
- I didn’t promise. I just said I’d bring it.
- So your word isn’t enough. Don’t count on you doing anything you say you’ll do unless you say, “I promise?”!
- No. It’s just that…
Jesus comes to their rescue…at least as far as the argument is concerned. But he lifts up a larger issue. Didn’t they get it? Didn’t they understand?
Did they not understand that when the time came, Jesus would notice their situation and provide for their needs? Had they forgotten it was he who saw the people were hungry and called the disciples’ attention to that fact? Was it lost on them that when the time came he would use whatever little they had and provide for all their needs?
This is my personal battle. My life-long struggle. I fear I won’t be taken care of. I’m afraid I won’t get enough. I won’t get my fair share. I won’t have what I need. I’m ashamed to have to admit it. But that is my visceral fear. I’ve become pretty good at hiding it from the casual observer. But if you look close enough you might see fear of not getting enough (FONGE) leaking from the cracks and crags of my soul.
Am I alone in this? What about those who never have enough attention and will dance and prance, talk and gesture to get you to notice them? What of those who worry about having enough money to retire on? Some people can’t get enough gin. Others fret about an insufficiency of excitement. Then there’s sex, affection, or power. I don’t think I’m alone – me and my disciple friends.
Jesus would have us look to him, believe he will notice our plight, and provide for all our needs. That’s a lesson sometimes very difficult to learn, but an important one nonetheless. FONGE will cloud our view of others’ needs and we’ll miss the opportunity to see how God may do great things through us rather than just for us. Instead of FONGE, let’s embrace another: FTTJTP Faith that trusts Jesus to provide.