We all have problems! No one who breathes on this earth is exempt from them. So, what is the right way to solve your problems if you are a follower of Jesus?
There is a wonderful illustration of this in the Bible story of how Jesus fed the five thousand. We are told that:
When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” (John 6:5).
The first thing about problem-solving that we learn here is that Jesus doesn’t baby-feed us. He asks us the question, to see if we can come up with the right answer. In v.6 it says that:
He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.
Jesus is saying to the disciples: “It’s not my problem; it’s our problem. What do you propose we do?”
Jesus gets the disciples involved in the problem they face, just as we are involved in our everyday problems.
Responding to problems
In this story, there are three responses to the challenge.
The first response is from Philip. He says:
It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite! (v.7).
Philip, like so many of us, looks at the problem. When you look at the problem you’ll be overwhelmed by it. That’s what happens to Philip, and so easily happens to you and me!
Then Andrew gets involved. He’s more practical; good for him! He says:
Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many? (v.9).
Andrew looks at his resources, and when he does that, he feels defeated. It’s the same with us when we face a major problem in our lives, and we rely on our own resources.
The right way to solve your problems is to look to Jesus..
The right way to solve your problems is to do what the boy did. He didn’t look at the problem, and he didn’t look at the resources. He looked to Jesus. Then he placed what he had in Jesus’ hands. And that’s when the miracle happened.
It’s so easy for us to look at how big our problems are, or how few are our resources. But that’s not the right way to solve your problems. Look to Jesus, and place it all in his hands, and you will see the miracles happen in your life. It takes faith. You have to trust in Jesus.
That’s what the little boy did. He was prepared to go hungry himself, if that was the way it worked out, but he gave everything to Jesus. Perhaps that’s why Jesus said:
Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 18:3).
The right way to solve your problems is to look to Jesus, and to place all you have in his hands.
Article supplied with thanks to Dr Eliezer Gonzalez. About the Author: Eliezer has two Master’s degrees in Theology and Early Christian History, and a PhD in Early Christian History.