21 June 2011

Bring what you have {not what you don't have} to Jesus

Maybe the whole crowd--the thousands gathered at Christ's feet--could see the waters of Galilee from their mountain perch. Drawn more to Him than to the water, more to Him than to lunch, more to Him than to supper, and as that mealtime approaches again on the third day, He knows when their hearts have had enough to digest for the present.

The Master of all trades, He calls the disciples to Himself, and turns from spoken food to thoughts of another kind of meal: The crowds don't have anything to eat. I have compassion on them. They are hungry. I can't send them away without food.

At this moment, the disciples get very realistic, logical, economical, reasonable. They don't have enough bread to feed a crowd of four thousand men, let alone all the women and children also in their midst.

Instead of asking whether they trust Him, whether they think He can do another miracle after everything they've already seen Him do, or where their faith is (although sometimes He asks that, too), Jesus responds with a basic, concrete question.

How many loaves do you have?

Seven. The answer, small, tiny, hardly significant, yet beautiful like a little wildflower, is also concrete.

You and I have heard this story a million times. I don't even need to tell you what happens next--how everyone gets their fill and there are leftovers.

But this time as I read, I noticed something. Maybe even the solution to my constant sense of inadequacy, the intense feeling that what I have to offer the world, my neighbor, my classmate, my friend, my husband, my God, is never going to be enough.

They bring the loaves--all seven of them--to Jesus. They bring the fishes--the few little ones--to Jesus.

I can't think of a way to shout this to you across the screen loudly enough. They don't take the little bits of food to the multitude, expecting any miracle. They work for Jesus, and they report directly to Him, bringing Him everything they have. They don't go looking for anything they don't have.

He asks what they have, and they bring it to Him. All of it. Not one disciple keeps back one of the little fish to snack on later if something doesn't work out. Everything goes into Jesus' {very capable} hands.

No one gets fed that day because of anything the disciples have or do. They get fed because Jesus blesses the food and multiplies it. It's simple food, but everyone has enough.

Did you ever wonder why He, who would have know how to make just exactly enough with no more and no less, made so many leftovers? From seven small loaves of bread to seven baskets full of them. And where did they find all the baskets?

I'll be honest. That boggles my mind. Such abundance, such bounty, from something that seemed like such nothingness.

Or did you ever wonder if you had anything of value to offer those around you? Whether your grasp of the gospel was enough to feed your hungering neighbor? Whether your energy was enough to give a bit of extra attention to the {husband, child, friend} who needs your {ears, helping hand, time, love}? Whether you ought to bother offer yourself, when you think others have more to give?

I wonder some of these things every day. And some days, I wonder all of them at once.

But today, thinking of how Jesus fed the multitude, I wonder if I should stop wondering these things. Maybe today I shouldn't offer scraps to everyone around me, or worry about everything I don't have to offer them.

Maybe I should use the energy and focus to gather up the scraps and bits and pieces, bringing them all to Jesus. And after He blesses and multipies them, handing them out to the crowds who really come to His feet and not mine anyway, maybe my biggest and most pressing wonder will be what He wants me to do with the baskets and baskets of leftovers there are at the end of the meal.