Can you picture this occurring? A kid on his way to (wherever) stops at this gathering. He has a lunch in hand and it’s plenty for him and maybe even a friend, but he has no idea what is about to happen.
As his stomach begins to growl, he watches a group of people congregating near Jesus and His disciples. As the crowd gathers, he is approached by someone in Jesus’ group asking if he’s willing to share his lunch. He is willing, of course, but proceeds to remind them that it is a miniscule amount compared to what is needed. The friends of Jesus sheepishly nod and say that they’re aware, but Jesus has a plan. They’ve learned to trust Him when He says so and they ask the boy to as well. So he does and he is in awe of what comes next:
The disciples take the basket with 2 fish and 5 barley loaves and pass it out to everyone in the crowd. Someone counted the growing crowd and the boy later found out there were around 5,000 people in attendance that day! It seems impossible, but it happened! Jesus’ followers…His friends….passed out the lunch and had some to spare.
The boy cannot make sense of it, but how could you with the limits we humans put on our expectations of ourselves and the world? Even the limits we put on God are laughable when you think about it.
We never hear about this boy again, but the spirit of generosity and willingness has been taught for centuries. His impact on the world has been huge and it has inspired multitudes to give what just doesn’t seem to be enough knowing that God will supply the rest and will fill in the gaps.
As Todd R. Vick writes in The Renewing of Your Mind: Asking Modern Questions to Ancient Answers:
"The boy had only mere morsels of food. He shared it all. It changed the world. Supernaturally. However, once he shared his lunch, we don’t hear about him anymore. His name wasn’t included in the gospel narrative, but his gift was. When we share sincerely and generously, our ego no longer matters."
May we remember this as we go about our daily lives. Our contributions to the world may seem insignificant, but in God’s hands, they are worth more than gold.
*Quoted with permission. To read more of Todd R. Vick’s work, go to https://toddrvick.net
The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me.
I will protect those who trust in my name.
When they call on me, I will answer;
I will be with them in trouble.
I will rescue and honor them.
I will reward them with a long life
and give them my salvation.”
Have you ever felt ALIVE?
It’s an amazing feeling. It makes you feel as though you can take on the world in a day.
Conversely, have you ever felt defeated?
I’m here to tell you I have felt both. I think if we were honest, most of us could say that we have experienced both. There have been times that I felt I could do anything I put my mind to…and did. At other times, I have talked myself out of pretty attainable things just because my head wasn’t in the game.
Jesus talked about this a bit in His time on Earth. He told us He came to give life abundantly. He admitted that the Thief has come to steal from us, but Jesus is here to give us a great life (John 10:10).
Knowing this makes all the difference: If we feel defeated, we can be sure that God does not want this for us. He wants us to ‘live our best life’ and not apologize for it. We shouldn’t apologize for it because living this way includes serving others in real, tangible ways.
This time of year is hard for so many: the holidays are over, the sun is nowhere to be found, it’s cold outside. Use this time to prepare for the comeback that is already in the works. Work with God to seek out that abundant life He has come for us to have. It will be so worth it!
“Have you heard about Jesus, they said? He is doing some phenomenal things. Things that only a GOD can do! Miracles!”
This must’ve been the talk around the town in Jesus’ day. He was out there healing others and teaching. He was unlike anything anyone had ever seen. He was sure to be the subject of rumors. He may have been a bit mysterious, but may have also made others uncomfortable….or intrigued.
At one point, Jesus asked His disciples about who people say He is. They replied the “safe” answer…”well, some say John the Baptist, or Jeremiah or Elijah”. Jesus replied to them that He wanted to know who His followers say He is.
Our friend Peter, who I can relate to because he tends to run his mouth quicker than he thinks things through, blurted this answer: “you are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
There is a lot to be said for your first instinctual response when asked who Jesus is to you. So, I ask…who is He to you?
Have you considered it?
If you’re not considering it, begin to. You don’t have to have it figured out right away. In fact, the faith that we come to through time and struggle is often the hard-won faith that lasts, but you do need to begin the process of asking who He is to you. If you want to delve further, look at Matthew 16: 13-20 again and see if your views align with those expressed. Let us know if you have any grand revelations.
'When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” “Well,” they replied, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say Jeremiah or one of the other prophets.” Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being. Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it. And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven.” Then he sternly warned the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah. '
'The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. '
Remember this as we head into a New Year:
''In certain ways we are weak, but the Spirit is here to help us. For example, when we don't know what to pray for, the Spirit prays for us in ways that cannot be put into words. All of our thoughts are known to God. He can understand what is in the mind of the Spirit, as the Spirit prays for God's people. We know that God is always at work for the good of everyone who loves him. They are the ones God has chosen for his purpose, I am sure that nothing can separate us from God's love—not life or death, not angels or spirits, not the present or the future, and not powers above or powers below. Nothing in all creation can separate us from God's love for us in Christ Jesus our Lord!'
“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. '
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
Isaiah 43:19 NLT