Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Loaves and Fishes
The story is the story of the loaves and the fishes. It's actually recorded in all four Gospels. It goes something like this. Jesus and his desciples have traveled outside of the city limits for some quality solitary time. But people have witnessed them leave and have followed them. We're not talking a handful here, we're talking thousands of people. They all want to hear what Jesus has to say. They want to hear his stories and listen to his words. They want to be emotionally and spiritually fed. In their haste they did not prepare for the day.
This isn't hard to imagine. If a crowd of teenage girls saw the cast of the Twilight movies walking down the street they'd rush after them for as far as they could, just for the chance to see them, or talk to them. They wouldn't stop for dinner at McDonald's they'd just rush along, trying to keep up.
That's how this crowd was. So, night is drawing nigh. Dusk is fast approaching and Jesus realizes that these thousands of people have not brought food with them. In his concern he asks his disciples if they have any food to share. They assure him there is none. No one planned on 5000 plus guests. The only thing they can find is one young boy with a basket holding 5 loaves and 2 fishes. The disciples are troubled as there is clearly not enough food. But Jesus simply looks up towards heaven, blesses the food and breaks it into baskets and instructs the disciples to gather the people together in order and pass the baskets around. At the end, they collect 12 baskets of leftovers and 5000 men beside women and children are fed. A short time later, this miracle is repeated in much the same way for 4000.
The miracle is that all those people could be fed. But there's so much more to this story. The miracle is that someone was willing to share all he had. But there's so much more to this story. For me, the miracle is that the Lord took all the boy had to offer and increased his capacity to give more.
There's a key here for all of us. So many people I know and love are feeling over-extended at the moment. They feel as if they rush from fire to fire putting one out just in time to address the next one. They fear that in the end, in spite of giving all they have to give that it won't be enough and they will fail somewhere. That's a feeling I've dealt with often. Sometimes, I'm sure I'll break just trying to keep it all together. Life is filled with pressing expectations that demand our attention. We'll fail because it's too much for us to carry.
Actually, we'll fail, because we think we have to carry it all alone.
There is nothing in this life we deal with that the Lord does not stand by willing to help us. All we have to do is ask. All we have to do is show him our little basket with 5 loaves and 2 fishes and acknowledge that we're giving all we have but it's not enough. That's when he'll step in with the miracle. That's when he'll increase our capacity to give. The demands will not be lessened. Over 5000 people still needed to be fed. You will still be expected to do your part. The basket of loaves and fishes was still required. But your capacity will be increased. Your ability to complete your tasks will be magnified. Your potential for reaching farther than you thought possible will be increased. I've been blessed with this miracle often and every time it amazes and humbles me.
The miracle is the Lord took all the boy offered and magnified his capacity to give more. He will do the same for you, if you but ask.