Tony Rhone, pastor of Galilee Baptist Church in Shawnee, delivered the chapel message Sept. 1 in Raley Chapel’s Potter Auditorium. He discussed the calling God has for his followers, emphasizing the ever important question for believers, “What does God want to do with your life?”
Though the miracle of Jesus feeding the 5,000 is recounted in all four gospels, Rhone chose the passage from Matthew to shine a light on a different aspect of the story. He focused on Matthew 14:16 (ESV), “But Jesus said, ‘They need not go away, you give them something to eat.’”
Rhone described the context of the passage, explaining that Jesus and his disciples were traveling to the city of Bethsaida to rest because the disciples were tired from a long day's work and Jesus had just learned John the Baptist was killed. The closer they came to the shore, they realized a crowd had followed them to their destination.
Rhone then explained that although the disciples were distressed, Jesus saw the crowd, “With a heart of compassion… as a flock of sheep without a shepherd.” So he took time to teach the crowd.
Rhone explained that as the day grew late, the disciples grew impatient and asked Jesus to send the people away to feed themselves, but in response, Jesus commanded them to give the people something to eat.
“In this command of Jesus is a great challenge,” Rhone said. “In this imperative of Jesus is the interrogative: ‘How can we feed this massive crowd of at least 5,000 men plus their wives and children?’”
Rhone then described the miracle of Jesus taking the little boy’s lunch and feeding the crowd.
“Notice what happens,” Rhone said. “Though Jesus takes the bread, blesses the bread [and] breaks the bread, he engages the disciples in kingdom enterprise to feed the people.”
Rhone challenged the audience to again consider the question, “What does God want to do with your life?”
“He wants to take it,” he answered. “He wants to bless it. He wants to break it and He wants you to give it away in his name.”
Rhone then explained the implication of this desire from God.
“We are just like that lunch. We are finite, we are limited, we are menial, we are pedestrian,” he said. “Yet in the hands of God, he’s able to multiply so others are blessed, helped, encouraged and saved through our witness and through our lives.”
Rhone has been the pastor of Galilee Baptist Church in Shawnee since 2006. He previously served as assistant to the pastor at Fairview Baptist Church in Oklahoma City. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business with an emphasis in management information systems from the University of Central Oklahoma. He then earned a Master of Arts in theological studies from American Bible College and Seminary.