I make a lot of mistakes. I make enough that there are some days where I feel like the bad choices outweigh the good ones. There are days when I wonder if the angels and God were up there saying “Watch this, here comes another one, worse than the last one!” Not really, but some days are worse than others.

Those are the days when I like to sit back and realize that Jesus can make a great day out of my worst choices and out of the worst turn of events. There are many times when Jesus met bad circumstances and turned them into lifelong (and eternal) lessons. This day was one of those.

Mark 6:30-44
30  The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught.
31  Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
32  So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place.
33  But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them.
34  When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.
35  By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples came to him. “This is a remote place,” they said, “and it’s already very late.
36  Send the people away so that they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.”
37  But he answered, “You give them something to eat.”
They said to him, “That would take more than half a year’s wages! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?”
38  “How many loaves do you have?” he asked. “Go and see.”
When they found out, they said, “Five—and two fish.”
39  Then Jesus directed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass.
40  So they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties.
41  Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people. He also divided the two fish among them all.
42  They all ate and were satisfied,
43  and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish.
44  The number of the men who had eaten was five thousand.

Here are the lessons I see coming out of this miraculous day.

Rest is good

Jesus is with His disciples who have just had an evangelistic experience that has both exhausted and energized them. Jesus suggested they go to a quiet place so they could rest. There is the first lesson in this story. Rest and some quiet time with God matter. There is an old joke that fits here well. The person who serves and serves and never rests, is like the person who drives and drives and never stops to put gas in his car. That is a bad choice. Often I have been that person.

Plans change, stay flexible

In the days long, long before social media and flash crowds (large groups of people notified and encouraged by social media to gather in a location), there was word-of mouth, something a lot slower than instant messaging, but still effective. Word-of-mouth was the “social media” of necessity before the Internet and telephone. It was a lot slower than social media, but obviously it worked, at least in this case. Thousands heard that the wandering preacher, Jesus, was in the area. They came by the thousands because of what they had heard about this unusual preacher. This man, they heard, could perform miracles, heal the sick and make the blind able to see! That would be worth the trip any day of the week.

Thousands gathered. The plan was to find a place away from the crowds, but Jesus’ fame and popularity made that difficult. That raises the second lesson, plans change. We must remain flexible because it is the Lord’s plans that matter; He directs our steps. Proverbs 20:24.

In their rush, and likely in part because of slow communication and slow travel, something went very wrong. Many of the men probably came straight from the fields and didn’t have time to stop at the nearest 7-11 or go home and get a meal. And in the rush to get there before Jesus traveled on, many did not stop for any food. Where Jesus sat and spoke was a long way from town, Mark 6:35, from the fields, and the people’s homes. Jesus spend much time with the people, perhaps healing many. Doubtless He spoke and preached for hours. As a result, everyone was tired and hungry. His disciples suggested, just as I would have, that He send them away because it was late. Jesus had a different idea and said to His disciples, “You give them something to eat.”

Obey God

This leaves the disciples dumbfounded. Then, Jesus makes it worse. Rather than tell them to have the people leave and get food, which is the only logical and realistic solution, Jesus directed His disciples to have the people sit. The third lesson is evident now. The disciples obeyed without delay. I would probably have argued, “Jesus, that doesn’t make any sense; they need to get started on their way to their homes.”

Give God room to work

Imagine the disciples’ reactions when Jesus took the seven loaves and two small fishes and prayed. As He passed out the food they must have been shocked at the endless supply of bread and fish from the small beginnings. That displays the fourth lesson; give God room to work.

Often the plans I make have been too small for what God had in mind. I make plans, but I need to make room for God. Just as plans need to be flexible because He directs our feet, we need to dream big and stay out of God’s way when He shows us His plans are bigger than we could ever imagine. Ephesians 3:20-21. I have gotten to watch this happen in the Foundation’s support of foster families and foster care. This was an area where I knew nothing, but it has been amazing to watch God work miracles with people’s lives and finances, all to the glory of God.

Now apply this to your financial plans and life

Now take the next step and apply these lessons to your financial plans. Years ago, before I became a believer, I made my financial plans without any thought of God. That changed the day I met Jesus Christ. My plans began to change as I began to seek a quiet place and learned that God had a plan and a purpose for our lives and our money.


You mean give my hard-earned money away? A few months before my salvation, that would have been laughable. Then it happened! I met Jesus and my life changed radically. I learned to be flexible and listen to God. Giving “my” money away made no practical worldly sense, but my wife and I together obeyed.

It turned out that God’s promises are true and immediate obedience was by far the best choice. Despite the lack of logic, God made sure that Malachi 3:10 worked. Giving to God, the tithe and beyond, not only was never a problem, we flourished financially. So, we gave more and learned that the 10% tithe is not a top goal, it is a bottom limit. Next, we began to explore the reaches of being generous for our God who had been lavishly generous with us.

Despite (or because of) our giving above the tithe, God blessed us. So, we have given more. While it may make no sense and it is illogical to the world, God has continued that blessing. He has even continued this in our retirement. We have rested, we have obeyed, and we have given Him room to work, and He has – in amazing ways.

Here is my recommendation to you. Don’t make the mistakes I did and delay having a plan for your giving to God’s work and His kingdom. I just wonder how much better off we would be if I had known Jesus earlier and if we had stated being generous back to God from the start.

If you would like to learn more, give us a call at (813) 264-8713.

About the Author

John Campbell has retired from a 40-year legal practice as a trial attorney in Tampa. He has served in multiple volunteer roles at Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz, Florida, where he met Jesus. He began serving as the Executive Director of the Idlewild Foundation in 2016. He has been married to the love of his life, Mona Puckett Campbell, since 1972.