Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” – Matthew 14:16 NIV
Starting the New Year is always a great opportunity to reflect and take inventory of where we have been over the last year. It is important to measure ourselves against the time we just came out of–sort of map the journey. I believe this has value, as it is healthy to take an honest look to see if our actions align with our faith. Naturally we speak of having faith, which is vital, but do we DO in faith? That could be another thing all together. Our actions will reveal where we stand on this. Think of the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000, which most of us are familiar with, but let me call your attention to a few things:
- Jesus challenged the disciples to feed the crowd. He wanted them to think abundantly, not in lack. God wants us to understand that HE will supply abundantly what is needed. He is not a God of lack or waste, HE IS a God of more than enough. Jesus gave the disciples two directives: 1. Give Me what you have (the five loaves and two fish) and, 2. Prepare for a miracle (seat the people in groups of fifty). God will provide the miracle, which is His part. We must provide the faith, which is our part. The disciples trusted and were obedient to Jesus’ words and directives. When we face lack and need a miracle, God gives us the same directives: 1. Give Me what you have and, 2. Prepare for a miracle. When we give God what we have, He makes it more than enough in our lives.
- I find significance in the items blessed in this story. I know that fish and bread were probably a staple in the diet of those days, however, Jesus references these items at other times in the Bible. In John 6:33-35 NIV Jesus says, “For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” “Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.” Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”
- We also see Jesus reference fish when He talks of lost people in Matthew 4:19, “Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men.” God reveals to us those things He wants us to have an understanding of abundance for: love for Him and love for people. Jesus echoes this in Mark 12:29-31 NIV when He answers the greatest commandment question: 29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
God is definitely a God of abundance and He wants to supply all of your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus, but He wants us to never lose sight of what is important to Him: Our relationship with Him and sharing His love with others in abundance!
Search your heart for the things you feel “lack” in (finances, security, kindness, knowledge, etc.) then give it to God and prepare for the miracle. Pray that God will lead you to people who need to know Him (fish) and that you will have the faith to share (cast your net).
Try this physical activity: pick three yoga poses. They should not be straining, but they should be challenging. Do each pose for 5 minutes, focus on form, and remember the pose is more about the form than it is the challenge. Focus on the right stuff today.