Served in Serving Others
By John Piper
Jesus said to them, “Why are you discussing the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened?”(Mark 8:17)
After Jesus had fed both the 5,000 and the 4,000 with only a few loaves and fish, the disciples got in a boat without enough bread for themselves.
When they began to discuss their plight, Jesus said, “Why are you discussing the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand?” (Mark 8:17). What didn’t they understand?
They did not understand the meaning of the leftovers, namely, that Jesus will take care of them when they take care of others. Jesus says,
“When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” They said to him, “Twelve.” “And the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” And they said to him, “Seven.” And he said to them, “Do you not yet understand?” (Mark 8:19–21)
Understand what? The leftovers.
The leftovers were for the servers. In fact, the first time there were twelve servers and twelve basketfuls left over (Mark 6:43) — one whole basket for each server. The second time there were seven basketfuls left over — seven, the number of abundant completeness.
What didn’t they understand? That Jesus would take care of them. You can’t out-give Jesus. When you spend your life for others, your needs will be met. “My God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).