Tuesday, February 6 2018
Of course it wasn't enough. Not by far.
In fact, it was ridiculously and absurdly far from being enough.
Picture the scene:
Five thousand men gathered in a desolate place somewhere on the shores of the Sea of Galilea, not counting all the women and children – all there to listen to Jesus teaching. He taught them so many things and they listened for so long that particular day, that it grew late and they all grew hungry.
When the disciples came to Jesus mentioning the desolation of the place and the lateness of the hour and the hunger of the crowd – and when they told Him to send them all away into the surrounding countryside and villages to buy themselves something to eat, He answered them: "You give them something to eat."
Can't you just picture it? The stunned and unbelieving response on every face, in every mind! What? Me? Us? This great crowd? Hardly!
And yet, Jesus asked them how much they had and insisted that they go and see what there was available.
To their credit, the disciples without a further word of objection did go and see what food they could find. And to their credit, they did bring back the oh-so-not-enough five breads and two fish from a little boy's lunch and gave it to Jesus.
It seemed completely ridiculous and absurd, illogical and irrational (you do the math!):
- first, of the boy to give up his lunch – which by all human standards was just enough for him, but certainly not enough for some fifteen thousand people
- secondly, of the disciples to bother bringing back and handing over to Jesus such a petty amount of food – which so obviously to everyone was "nothing" compared to all that they needed
But here's the thing? Was Jesus surprised, or worried, or angry at how little the disciples found? Was the oh-so-not-enoughness of what they brought to Him a shock or a concern or a frustration to Him?
Not in the least! After commanding everyone to be organized into groups of hundreds and fifties...
He took the five breads and the two fish.
He looked up to heaven and said a blessing.
He broke the loaves and divided the fish.
And then He gave them to the disciples to set before the people.
He took what was not-enough, gave thanks to God for the not-enough, broke and divided the not-enough, and then distributed the not-enough – in full confidence and trust that in the taking and giving thanks and breaking and distributing, what was initially not-enough would become more-than-enough.
And it was so. The five thousand men, and all the women and children, ate and were satisfied. And there were twelve baskets of broken bread and broken fish left when everyone had eaten their fill.
So, dear friend: if God can do that with mere loaves of bread and fish, can He not – will He not – do the same for the not-enoughness of so many situations and people in our own lives?
So many days, I feel that I myself am simply not-enough: not consecrated enough, not faith-filled enough, not strong enough, not wise enough, not patient enough – in so many areas of my life, just not enough!
And then, there are our families – our husbands or wives and our children, our fathers and mothers and brothers and sisters. How many days do we not think and feel that they are not enough either: not godly enough, not committed enough, not loving enough, not understanding enough, not hard-working enough – in so many areas of their lives, just not enough!
And not to mention our interpersonal relationships at church and at work and at school, our jobs and our schooling themselves, our economic situations, our health...
Everywhere we look, there is so much not-enoughness: not enough holiness, not enough faith and courage, not enough integrity and honesty, not enough money, not enough well-being...
So, what if we simply did what Jesus did?
What if we simply accepted the not-enoughness of the present, took it, looked up to heaven, offered it in thanks and blessing to God Almighty, broke it, and then fully trusted that what in our hands and in our lives is just not-enough, He can grow and multiply into much-more-than-enough?
I've decided to do that: give thanks and bless what, in my hands and in my life and in my human short-sightedness, appears to be oh-so-not-enough – and believe that a loving and powerful God can multiply and prosper that not-enoughness into more-than-enough blessing for many.
"Give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."
(1 Thessalonians 5:18)
I wonder how the biblical story of The Feeding of the Five Thousand played out after everyone had eaten their fill and it was dark and late and time to go home. Can't you just picture the boy who had given up his lunch of bread and fish racing back to his parents, jumping up and down in excitement, hardly able to get the words out of his heart and mouth: "You won't believe it! You just won't believe it! Remember the lunch you packed for me this morning? Well, I gave it to Jesus – and He fed around fifteeen thousand people with it! I was really hungry today, so the five loaves and the two fish wouldn't even have been enough for me. But Jesus took them and blessed them and broke them and handed them out anyway, and then they became more than enough loaves and fish, and everyone ate until they were full! Jesus used my little not-enough lunch, and made it more-than-enough for everybody!"
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