Steps to Problem Solving

For more than 20 years Professor Edwin R. Keedy of the of Pennsylvania Law School used to start his first class by putting two figures on the blackboard 4 & 2.Then would ask, “What’s the solution?” One student would call out, “Six.” Another would say “ … More

Problem Solving

When Jesus heard the news of John’s murder He quickly withdrew from that area and went by ship to a lonely place (v. 13). The people watched where Jesus and His disciples were going and a great crowd walked along the shore and met Him when He landed (v. 14). Although Jesus desperately needed rest the multitudes touched His heart. Compassion is God’s natural response to human suffering. Jesus had gone to a remote place to get alone, but when the crowds followed Him, He ministered to them and refused to send them away.

When evening came the disciples wanted to send the crowds away because they were in a remote place and had nothing to feed so many people (v. 15).  Certainly they knew He was powerful enough to meet the need and yet they did not turn to Him for help. This is so much like many of God’s people today. For some reason, it is never the right time or place for God to work. Note the steps that Jesus taught His disciples that we need to take in solving problems (vv. 16-21):

  1. Start with what you have - Andrew found a lad who had a small lunch.
  2. Give what you have to  Jesus - The boy was willing to give up his lunch to Jesus.
  3. Obey what He commands - The disciples had the people sit down and they took the pieces and distributed them. As His servants, we are “distributors”, not “manufacturers”.
  4. Conserve the results - After the people were fed all they wanted, the left over pieces were carefully collected so that nothing was wasted.


What do I have to offer to the Lord? Is there any conflict between what I want to do in life and what the Lord wants me to do in life? If so how can this be resolved?

Matthew 14:13-21 (English Standard Version)

Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick. Now when it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, "This is a desolate place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves." But Jesus said, "They need not go away; you give them something to eat." They said to him, "We have only five loaves here and two fish." And he said, "Bring them here to me." Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.

View this passage in NIV (Bible Gateway) »