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Tuesday Thoughts 1-21-19

Are the loaves and fish still enough?  The question didn’t hit me with this morning’s reading, but it has slowly settled in my spirit as the day has progressed.  This will ring a bell for some but may be a puzzling thought for others, so, to refresh or introduce the subject, here’s the story from the New Testament book of Matthew: “…The disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away so they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves.” But Jesus said, “That isn’t necessary—you feed them.” “But we have only five loaves of bread and two fish!” they answered. “Bring them here,” he said. Then he told the people to sit down on the grass. Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and blessed them. Then, breaking the loaves into pieces, he gave the bread to the disciples, who distributed it to the people. They all ate as much as they wanted, and afterward, the disciples picked up twelve baskets of leftovers. About 5,000 men were fed that day, in addition to all the women and children!” Matthew 14:15–20 (NLT).   Let’s revisit the scene.  Over five thousand people of all ages milling around in the hot and dusty middle-of-nowhere.  As the hunger pains starts to override the emotional high of witnessing Jesus healing the sick, a growing grumbling begins sweeping from person to person (think of the Snickers, “You’re not you when you’re hungry” commercials).  Jesus’ followers wanted to get away from them, but he had another plan.  The written account can’t capture the looks that must have been on the disciples faces when Jesus suggested that the solitary brown-bag lunch would satisfy everyone with leftovers besides, but indeed it did!  The opening question can be applied to many aspects of kingdom culture, but it is the one I’m facing that has my attention today.   What stirs within can be rephrased like this, “Am I enough?”  Can Jesus still use the pitifully little I bring in an impactful, overflowing way in the lives of others (“you feed them”, as Jesus put it)?  The elements of my current spiritual journey keep bringing this question to the forefront.  Perhaps you’re asking it of yourself too.   The answer is, of course, YES!  But the transition from puny to powerful requires three repetitive, heartfelt actions.  The first is to bring all you have (no matter how small).  The second is to submit them to the Father for his blessing, and the third is to start using them (and keep using them).  Contained in this action triad are the concepts of submission, surrender, faith, and application.  The beauty of this process is that it prevents pride (because results will come) or paralysis (it always looks like too little) and will fuel our kingdom productivity.  Pray for me as I submit, and I’ll pray for you collectively.  Send me your name and I’ll pray specifically.  The loaves and fish are still enough!

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