“Mom, this tea is gross! Do you have any sugar packets in the abyss of your purse?”
I watch the exchange between mother and daughter with amusement; as mom begins to unpack the contents of her purse and daughter teases that she carries everything around with her. True to form, mom produces a Ziplock bag filled with sugar packets.
Can you relate?
I can absolutely relate, in my prior life as a trial litigation paralegal, my team always turned to me in a crisis and expected me to pull a rabbit out of my hat: A witness breaks down on the stand, I could be trusted to produce a box of tissue. Water spills on the counsel table out come the paper towels. Cords pose a tripping hazard- no problem that a little duct tape can't fix. Severe paper cut- Band-Aids to the rescue. You name it- chances are I had it. My motto was "better to be safe than sorry" so, I tried to expect the unexpected and as such, I always “packed a lunch”- literally.
It is because I can relate that the famous Bible story of the "fishes and the loaves"
(John 6:1-15) leaves me wondering how in the world is it that a little boy is the only one prepared with a lunch when the Bible tells us that 5,000 men were waiting on the hillside to hear Jesus?
Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”
Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there).
Scholars estimate that if there were 5,000 men present then counting the women and children that the Disciple Matthew mentions (Matthew 14:21) the true number would be upwards of 15,000.
Ok, so out of 15,000 people, no one was prepared and had lunch that day? Just one lone little boy? Come on- no good Jewish mother would have let her family go out for the day, not knowing exactly if and when Jesus was going to show up and had nothing for her family to eat!
No, I believe there were others there that day just like me- prepared. They had prepared for the weather, the waiting, and they had packed a lunch. The difference is they were prepared for their own families, they just weren’t prepared for Jesus.
They weren’t prepared to recognize the ingredients for a miracle.
They weren’t prepared to say “yes” to Him.
“God can’t multiply what we don’t recognize.” ~ Christine Caine
Don’t you think that Jesus could have easily just made the bread and fish appear? Before this day, he had performed 18 other miracles including turning water into wine, healing countless sick, raising a child back to life, and he flooded Simon Peter's boat with fish earlier in his ministry. What’s a few loaves of bread and some fish to Him?
This time, Jesus makes a request…. “What’s for lunch?”
He wanted to see not only how his Disciples would respond to his request, but the people.
His disciple Philip responds that it would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough food for each person to have a bite. Another disciple Andrew comments- “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” (John 6: 7-9.)
The Disciples doubt and only one boy offers up his fish and chips!
Instead of being disappointed, Jesus readily takes the meager offering, he gives thanks, blesses it, then breaks it apart and distributes it to the crowd. He feeds over 15,000 and has twelve baskets of leftovers!
The impossible was made possible with the God who multiplies.
I'm curious, who would you be in this story?
The unprepared, the doubter, the giver, or the reluctant?
I imagine, most would be in one of two camps: Doubters and Reluctant. We may have planned for the day, but when faced with what seems impossible we tend to gravitate to doubting ourselves and God and being afraid to say “yes.” Afraid to give over what we see as not enough. We believe the lie that we don’t have enough, we aren’t good enough, or that God would rather use someone else.
The truth is…. we ALL bring something of value to the table of the Lord. We all have ingredients that He can use for a miracle. He longs that we would say “yes” to Him…. to give over to Him whatever it is that He has gifted- to willingly offer all that we are and all that we have to His capable hands. Resources, talents, abilities, calling, and yes, even what's in our pantry!
It is when we recognize our worth, recognize what we have to offer, and then say “yes” that God can then multiply and do the miraculous!
So, the question remains- What’s in your packed lunch, and are you willing to offer it to Christ?
Oh, that we would all be givers – just like the little boy who recognized that it wasn't about him or his meager offering; rather it was about trusting in the mighty God of miracles!
God is ready to assume full responsibility for the life wholly yielded to Him. ~Andrew Murray