So, I was listening to my audiobook, called: not a fan, a few days ago and the author mentioned the feeding of the 5,000 by Jesus. Now being a pastors kid, I’ve heard this story about 500 times but there was just something about hearing it this time that made the light bulb go off.
I started to think about what was actually going on… before I continue I may help to give it a quick read:
4 Now the Passover, a Jewish festival, was near. 5 Therefore, when Jesus looked up and noticed a huge crowd coming toward Him, He asked Philip, “Where will we buy bread so these people can eat?” 6 He asked this to test him, for He Himself knew what He was going to do.7 Philip answered, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread wouldn’t be enough for each of them to have a little.”8 One of His disciples, Andrew, Simoni Peter’s brother, said to Him, 9 “There’s a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish—but what are they for so many?”10 Then Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.”There was plenty of grass in that place, so they sat down. The men numbered about 5,000. 11 Then Jesus took the loaves, and after giving thanks He distributed them to those who were seated—so also with the fish, as much as they wanted.
The part that stuck out was Philips answer to Jesus, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread wouldn’t be enough for each of them to have a little”. 200 denarii would have been a significant amount of money. Roughly around eight months salary for a standard laborer. Philip couldn’t get his mind around how they were supposed to feed all these people. Was this going to be the best way to spend their money? You mean, Jesus really wanted them to feed everyone… they didn’t even have that kind of money laying around… how were they going to get it… were the crowds really worth it? Was it really their responsibility to feed them?
What did Jesus really expect of them…
I’m sure all these questions went through their minds in that brief moment of panic after Jesus’ request. All they could find were a measly 5 pieces of bread and 2 fish (which if your into biblical numbers add up to 7 by the way… aka perfect plan). Little did they know what Jesus could do with so little.
I think we often react to God in the same way Philip and the disciples did to Jesus. He asks something of us and we immediately go to planned panic mode. How can I make this happen? Can I afford this? Can I really get enough time off to go there? Did God really ask me to forgive them? I’m supposed to do what God? How?
This hit close to home for me. I take on big tasks. Just ask Lindsay. I don’t know if I’ve ever had a project that was just standard… somehow I always find a way to beef it up or go to the extreme. Remodel a kitchen, ah why not just bust the whole thing out and start from scratch. The downfall is sometimes I can fall into thinking that is what God expects of me in everything He puts in my path.
Now I’m not implying that we should not do our best in everything we are given. But, what I am saying is that maybe sometimes we can’t see the forrest for the trees. Maybe we are too busy trying to figure out how to give God what we think He needs from us, by our own means, that we forget how much we need Him.
Maybe God is saying,”Offer what you have and see what I will do”.
What Jesus asked of the disciples was huge. I mean 8 months salary… think about that. Not many people could afford that. So the disciples, much like us go into panic mode… because they are trying to solve the problem by their own power, understanding and resources. They added the numbers up got the grand total and realized it didn’t add up… this was too big for them… this was too much…
The problem you are facing… the ministry thats been put on your heart… the problems with the church… your disappointment in relationships, jobs, life… your regrets… your failures… your loss of hope… They all seem to big for you… there too much… and you can’t see how to accomplish what is ahead…
God simply says, “Offer what you have and see what I will do”
Whatever it is… offer what you have and see what I will do. You see, God didn’t design us to be strong. He didn’t design us to have all the answers. He designed us to love and to need… to need His guidance, His strength, His patience, His love, His peace, His answers… His hope. God designed you to need Him and to be a vessel for him to show His greatness through. Your resources, time, skills, talent, ideas, inspirations, hopes, desires… you have been equipped in this moment, at this time to accomplish the very tasks God has put in front of you…
So may you embrace your brokenness, may you find peace in what you have been asked to do, may you find strength that is not your own, may you be broken to be strong, may you trust God knows the steps ahead, may you trust… Trust that God isn’t asking for your answers but simply for your obedience, may you discover your value to God is not in your solutions and answers, and may you see the answers to the problems set before you are not in what you can do on your own but instead in offering what you have already been given. May you see God answer the situation before you with nothing more than your 5 tiny loaves and 2 small fish.