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  • John Bryant

Mark 6:30-44: Two Ways to Trust Christ

Updated: Jul 19

30 The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. 31 And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. 32 And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves. 33 Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 34 When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things. 35 And when it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the hour is now late. 36 Send them away to go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” 37 But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said to him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii[f] worth of bread and give it to them to eat?” 38 And he said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” And when they had found out, they said, “Five, and two fish.” 39 Then he commanded them all to sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties. 41 And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the people. And he divided the two fish among them all. 42 And they all ate and were satisfied. 43 And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. 44 And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men.



Sometimes I wonder in ministry what trusting Christ looks like. The changing shape it takes.


Sometimes trusting Christ is silence. Sometimes trusting Christ is speech. Sometimes we trust Christ by doing nothing. Sometimes we trust Christ by doing something.


Here, the disciples are asked to trust Christ in two ways.


They are asked to trust Christ enough to be absent.


And they are asked to trust Christ enough to be present.


There is no rulebook, no guidebook for when to step away, and when to step in.


In both cases, they only know by listening. There is a call, a summons:


“Come away to a desolation place.”


Trust Christ enough to be an absence. Remove yourself from impossible situations. Situations you cannot fix. Situations you cannot manage.


“You give them something to eat.”


Trust Christ enough to be a presence. Place yourself in impossible situations. Situations you cannot fix. Situations you cannot manage.


In ministry, you sometimes feel like you belong to the community you serve. And you sometimes feel you are trapped in it.


Sometimes, just when you start feeling like you belong with these people, you are called away.


Sometimes, just when you start feeling like you are trapped with them, you are called further in.


If you are in relational ministry, you are enmeshed in a vast network of possibility and obligation. You cannot always tell if you are offering yourself freely or being pulled into something you cannot get out of.


And we do not always know for sure. And we have not been asked to know for sure. Only to listen. Listen to the one who says.


“Come away,”


“Come away,”


And who then says,


“You give them something to eat.”







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