One of my great concerns as a pastor involves the ‘inactivity’ of some versus the ‘over-activity’ of others. Within every body of believers, there are some who are carrying a heavy load, while others are content to sit back and watch them. With that thought in mind, consider this episode found in the ministry of Jesus.
Matthew 14:15 As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.” 16 Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” 17 “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered. 18 “Bring them here to me,” he said. 19 And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. 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 the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. 20 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.
The primary thing I want to call to your attention is that afterwards, the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of leftovers. Not four baskets or eight baskets, nor even fifteen; there were twelve baskets. Why twelve? There were twelve baskets because there were twelve disciples. Each disciple had his basket to carry.
We read from scripture: “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)
No one is saved by doing good works. In the verses just preceding this, Paul tells us that salvation is – “the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” (see Ephesians 2:8-9) We are not saved ‘by’ good works, but we are saved ‘unto’ good works. Every believer is a special creation created in Christ Jesus for the purpose of producing good works.
First of all, let me say a special thank you to all those who are carrying a basket. Many of you are carrying more than one basket! May the Lord bless you.
Let me also make a special appeal to all those who aren’t carrying a basket. The body of Christ needs you. We all have a basket to carry and therefore we all need to get involved. A good place to start is by looking for someone who’s trying to carry more than they should, and ask them if you can help.