by Dr. Jeff Fugate
Mark 6:52—For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened.
This miracle was quite amazing! There were five thousand people, in addition to the others who were there. Jesus told the disciples to feed them, but all of the food that was available were five loaves of bread and two fishes. This was not enough for the disciples, let alone the multitudes before them. Jesus had them sit in groups of fifty and one hundred, He blessed the food, and He instructed His disciples to give it to the multitudes. They did just that, and not only were ALL of them FILLED but there were also twelve baskets full of the fragments that remained! Wow! This mighty work of God happened right before them, and Jesus used THEIR hands to fulfill the task. However, the disciples’ hearts were hardened. They did not consider what had happened right in front of them nor did they consider the fact that they themselves were used to help fulfill the miracle. They did not consider what greatness had been done by hand of the Lord Jesus.
What caused their devastating condition of a hardened heart?
Let me point out quickly that it was not because of sin or laziness. It was not because they were in a backslidden condition. The truth is that they were simply tired. Let us take note that to get a hard heart is not sin; but it is sin, however, to allow our hearts to stay this way! This condition spells DANGER in the near future. There are five things I do when my heart gets hardened:
We must pay attention to the condition of our hearts. We cannot ignore it any more than we can ignore the fuel gauge of our automobiles. Just as an empty gas tank means that a car will stop in its tracks, a hardened heart will put the brakes on our usefulness for God. What are our responses to souls being saved? Do we have a burden now to see someone saved through our lives, our ministries, and our prayers? We must recognize and admit the condition of our hearts.
Mark 6:30-32—And the apostles gathered themselves together unto Jesus, and told him all things, both what they had done, and what they had taught. And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat. And they departed into a desert place by ship privately.
In these verses, the Lord Jesus described the kind of rest that the disciples needed. They did not need to take time in a carnal or sinful setting. They did not need to be entertained. Many people go on a vacation and “check out” from being a Christian. We need to pay attention to the wording and description of this rest that Jesus prescribed.
As Christian laborers, we are naturally “givers.” We invest our lives and our time into others on a regular basis. We teach, preach, counsel, and love others. We cannot give spiritually when we are refilling carnally! We must refill with the good and spiritual things that we give. Oh, how we need the Word of God to fill our hearts and our minds!
Remember what God has done.
We must plan to spend some time thinking of all of the mighty works of God in our lives and in our churches. We must refresh with the acknowledgement of God’s past blessings in our lives.
Recognize that source of real joy.
Once we have tasted of the joys of serving Jesus, there is nothing in this world that will satisfy us and provide the joy that we gain in the will of God.
Let us remember that it does not take rebellion, sin, or backsliding to bring us to the state of a hardened heart.
Let us each ask ourselves, “Is my heart tender toward the things of God and toward others?” If it is not, we must take proactive counsel from the steps I have listed above so that we may get back to the place where we are soft and pliable to the will of God.