Ask God for Help
21 February 2016
Mark 6:31-37, 8:31-21
While I was attending a seminary in South California, I met a Korean pastor. He was a very active person. He always enjoyed meeting and talking with people. One afternoon, when I was studying in the library with my friend, the pastor came to us and said that he wanted to invite us for dinner at his home that evening. My friend and I were thankful for inviting us to his home because we were hungry at that moment. We went to his home. When we entered his house, the pastor's wife was surprised because she had never heard about our visit. The pastor didn't tell her about our visit. He just brought us to his home without letting his wife know. We felt sorry to cause that sudden situation. She was a little surprised but she began to prepare for dinner with a joyful heart. She said that she got used to that kind of sudden situation because her husband often brought people to home without letting her know.
Imagine facing the situation that the pastor's wife faced. How would you respond to that situation? Most people would be at a loss for words if they have visitors at their homes and have to prepare some food for them without any advanced notice.
In today's passage, we find that the disciples of Jesus faced that kind of situation. One day, Jesus and his disciples got into a boat and went a solitary place. They were resting at that place. While resting, people began to come to the place where they stayed. They came to Jesus in order to hear the word of God from him. The Scripture says that about 5,000 people came to him.
Jesus began to preach those people. He passionately preached the word of God and they listened to him. While he was preaching, it became dark. The people felt hungry. The disciples were worried and said to Jesus, "Lord, we need to send them to the villages to buy some food." They thought that it was a reasonable suggestion. But Jesus told them to provide some food to the people themselves. I think that the disciples must have been at a loss for words when they heard this from him.
In the beginning of my sermon, I mentioned a pastor's wife who faced an unexpected situation that she suddenly had to prepare some food for me and my friend. But the situation that the disciples faced was much worse more than the situation that the pastor's wife faced because they had to feed 5,000 people. During the time of Jesus, when people counted the number of people, they didn't count women, children and aged men. They counted only men who were physically strong and who could fight wars. So we can assume that there were probably about 20,000 people at that place and the disciples had to feed about 20,000 people.
When Jesus told them to provide some food to the people, a disciple named Philip said to him that they needed at least "Eight months' wages to buy food for the people. He said in John 6:7, "Philip answered him, "Eight months' wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!" What he meant was that even if they had 'eight months' wages, they would not buy enough food for 20,000 people. He was also worried about where they would buy food for 20,000 people at that time and how they would bring those food to people. They thought that what Jesus said was nonsense. They also thought that it was an impossible task for them.
Jesus didn't care what they said or thought. He told them to check how much bread they had. Then a little boy brought five loaves and two fish to them. Jesus blessed that boy's food. After his blessing, a miracle happened. All people ate and were satisfied. There were even some left over in twelve baskets.
In the Bible, we find that Jesus performed many miracles. He healed the disease of Peter's mother in law. He healed a blind man named Bartimaeus. He healed the lepers. He healed the paralyzed man. He healed a woman who had been suffering from a bleeding disease for 12 years. He raised Lazarus from the death. In Mark chapter 6, we find that he fed about 20,000 people. In Mark chapter 8, we find a similar miracle of Jesus. He fed 4,000 people with 7 loaves and 2 fish. We find his two similar miracles in Mark chapter 6 and in Mark chapter 8. The disciples witnessed his miracles of feeding people.
After he fed 4,000 men, he got back into the boat and crossed to the other side. In the middle of the sea, the disciple found out that they had only one bread. They forgot to bring more breads for them. They were worried that they didn't have bread for them. Jesus was aware of what they were discussing. He was disappointed with them. He said in Mark 8:17. "Why are you arguing about having no bread? Don’t you know or understand even yet? Are your hearts too hard to take it in?"
Why was he disappointed with his disciples? It was because they didn't take their problem to him. It was because they didn't ask him for help. At that moment, he was with them in the small boat. He was right next to them. Just earlier, they saw him feed 4,000 people with 7 loaves and 2 fish. Even though they saw that miracle just earlier, they are now worried because they don't have breads for them. They are now discussing about how to resolve that problem. They didn't ask him for help. It was the problem of this disciples.
As we see the problem of the disciples, we also find ourselves having the same problem. How long have we been attending the church? How long have we been serving God? We have served God for many years. Nevertheless, we often become blind spiritually like the disciples.
These days, we see many advances in science and technology. I believe that someday in future, people will be able to travel into space. We see many kinds of drones in our lives. They fly everywhere. People use drones in wars as weapons. They use robots at wars as weapons. We are God's creation. Even though we are created beings, we are able to make many amazing things.
Now we need to think about the creator, our God. Can you imagine how powerful he is? There is nothing impossible for him. He is the God who created all things from nothing. He is the God who works beyond the human's rationale.
How and when can we experience God's miracles in our lives? It is when we take our problems to him. It is when we ask him for help. Do you still not ask him for help? It is evidence of how arrogant you are. It is evident that you still rely on your wisdom and strength.
Jesus said in Luke 11:9, "So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you."
He promised that he will give us the things that we ask for. Even though we face many problems in our lives, our problems will be resolved when we take them to him and we ask him for help. He will help us and bless you.
There was a poor little boy. His father was alcoholic and was violent to his family each time he drank. His brother was a drug addict and didn’t have any hope for his own life. His mother was the only one who worked for the family. His mother was a janitor. The boy was always alone because his family was poor. One day, he saw some boys playing the soccer from a distance. When he played alone with sands, a soccer ball rolled to the place where he was sitting. He kicked the ball back to the boys. When he kicked the ball, he felt overjoyed. Since then, he loved soccer. He set up a goal to become a famous soccer player. He began to pray to God. He continued to ask God to help so that his dream would come true. He asked his mother to buy a soccer ball. But his mother couldn't buy one. Even though she couldn't buy a soccer ball, she searched a school where he could play the soccer. With her effort, he joined a school soccer team.
But he still couldn’t play with other players because he didn’t’ have his own soccer shoes. His job in the team was to clean and polish the ball every night after the practice ended. But he didn’t give up and believed that God would help him. One day, he received very old used soccer shoes as a gift from someone. He began to play the soccer game and he was very good at games. He became a key player in his team. One day, he collapsed while he practiced. He was immediately hospitalized and got a check-up. He was diagnosed that his heart pounded two times faster than normal people. The doctor said that he would die during the game if he didn’t receive a surgery.
But he couldn’t afford to receive a surgery because his family was so poor. His father and brother got a job to save money for his surgery. One year after they worked hard, he eventually received a surgery and the surgery went well. After the surgery, he became healthy and could play the soccer again. Few year later, he became a famous soccer player in his homeland. He was scouted to a great team named ‘Manchester United’ in England. Later he was scouted to another great team named ‘Real Madrid’ in Spain. His name is Cristiano Ronaldo.
When he was young, his family was poor. He couldn't play the soccer. He received the heart surgery. Even though he went through all these things, he continued to ask God to help and bless him. God blessed him. He became a world famous soccer player. He received the award named 'Ballon d'Or' several times which is given to the most great soccer player among all the player in the Europe leagues. He donates much money to the poor every year. Last year, he donated 8 million dollars for the Nepal people who had a hard time due to the earthquake.
God is the almighty God. He answers our heart desires when we seek him and ask him for help.
This past Wednesday, Mary and I were having lunch at a restaurant in Wahiawa. We were sitting on a table near the entrance door of the restaurant. While we were eating, someone at the entrance door called me. "Pastor". I looked at the door. I found out that there was one of our church youth members at the door. When she passed that restaurant, she saw us eating in the restaurant. She stopped because she wanted to say 'Hi' to us. I went to the door and talked with her. She was with her friend. I asked her if she was hungry. She said that she was not hungry. I knew that it was around lunch time and she was hungry. I took her and her friend to the inside of the restaurant and bought them lunch.
Do you know why I bought her and her friend lunch at the restaurant? It was because I was so happy that she called me. She called me "Pastor". She could have ignored me. She could have passed the restaurant without calling me. I was happy that she called me. That's why I bought her lunch.
God is our Father. Can you imagine how happy he is when you call him? I believe that he must be happy when you call and ask him for help? When you are sick or struggling with some problems, he wants to help you.
There was an American Athlete named Derek Raymond. He was a fast runner. People believed that he would win the Olympic Games and receive some medals. Let us watch a video clip that shows what happened to him during the game.
Our Father God knows all your pains. He knows all your problems. He wants to help you. He wants to resolve your problems. Call his name. Ask him for help. When you call his name, he will never ignore you. He will gladly come to you and help you and resolve your problems.
Rev. Dr. David Choi
Last modified 25 February 2016.