This weekend we were supposed to take 7 boys camping for my son's birthday. Leading up to it, in my quiet time, I read John 6:1-14. You probably know the scripture well. The story where Jesus took 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread and miraculously fed 5,000 people. This seemed like a reasonable moment in my life to pause ask Jesus for help feeding the 7 middle school age, always starving, never full boys we were about to head off on an adventure with :)
Have you ever noticed that the count we celebrate is just the men? Five thousand didn't even calculate the women and children. We know children were there because the food that fed them all to excess came from a little boy and a lot of Jesus. Let all the people pause here and say a prayer of thanks for the mothers who actually do things like send their kids out with a proper snack. Bless their hearts, mine would have been the ones not counted and hangry...
As I read familiar stories in scripture, I always try to challenge myself to not just assume I know it. I want to let the Living Word of God always teach new things, even from places I assume I've exhausted.
I think the miracle always takes the spotlight. I think Jesus got a little tired of that. I have no doubt that He loves showing us His power. I honestly think He would love to show this part of Himself to us more, but I think He gets frustrated when we fixate on the miracle more than the miracle worker. I also think that He wishes we would be still with Him and learn the more subtle lessons that are foundational to our every day walk with Him.
Here is what I saw when I sat still with a familiar story...I saw disciples who looked at the enormity of the situation, felt the responsibility of leadership and their instinct was to do the logical thing and call it quits. I saw a crowd that was so eager to be with Jesus that they neglected even the most basic of responsibilities and just ran to be with Him. And I saw a little boy, who with the innocence often only found in youth, held up what he had, and offered it to Jesus. Ridiculous, isn't it? Laughable. It's an offering that would illicit a tender smile, cause us to pause a moment to let all the feels wash over us, then get back to letting the grown ups handle it.
I love Jesus! I love that He performed one of the most known miracles in history with the innocent offering of a little boy who was simply willing to share all he had to give. BOOM. Jesus MOVES in that kind of sacrifice. Jesus lights up offerings like that. Jesus multiplies willingness like that. Miracles happen when I simply opening my hands and offering whatever is there. That day, I think miracles were going to happen when a crowd of grown ups forgot to be responsible and chased after Jesus. I think miracles were going to happen that day because His disciples WERE going to lead soon and needed to remember to dream wild dreams about the endless possibilities their faith journey was headed towards.
I think miracles were going to happen that day because a couple thousand years later, I need to learn to stop overthinking it. Stop weighing it out. Stop over analyzing it. Stop the insecurity narrative. Stop being rational. Stop being stingy. Stop being controlling. Just open up the hands He made for me, and offer Jesus what I have. Let Him figure out what to do with it.
Recently my wise friend, Brenda sent me this encouragement: Phillipians 2:13 "For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure." She pointed out it's His to WILL, and His to WORK. We just show up and say yes. He is the beginning and the end of all the things. My job is to be in the middle of Him and go where He goes. Trust Him to have my back and to blaze the trail in front.
I think we spend WAY too much time with the internal dialogue, and way too little time just showing up and saying yes. That little boy didn't sit there and say, 'well, if I give this guy, Andrew my food, I won't have enough for me'. He just offered it. Jesus already knew what He was going to do. John tells us He had a plan. He was just looking around for someone willing to make a tiny offering for Him to use. Because that is Jesus economy. He lets us be a part. An imperfect, illogical, silly part. Our part is ALWAYS tiny compared to what He does with it, yet over and over, that is the reason that we just sit in the crowd, and miss the moments. My friend, Michael says "if He lets you see the need, just assume that He is calling you to meet it." He doesn't need our fish or bread. He created them for crying out loud. He lets us get to be a part of HUGE things because He is our daddy and a good daddy just does that kind of thing. They give their kids opportunities to help so they can learn big lessons. I wonder what miracles and big movements of God we would see if we were more thankful and open-handed?