More than a story about sharing fish

God is looking for a heart that is after Him. He wants people who desire Him and His sufficiency. In John chapter 6 and the story of the feeding of the multitude, we see that all the people ate and were satisfied. We can look at this story and see the obvious. We can see that there was a need and a boy shared his loaves and his fishes. We can see this and if we stop there we can learn a little something. However, if we push through just a little we can see so much more. There are three great points that we can take away from this story.

  1. God works through people. God gives the gift. He is the One who provides the means, but He does this work through people. He works through the church. He works through you and me.
  2. When we serve God by giving generously our faith increases.
  3. Jesus is sufficient for us. He is more than enough.

If we look at the story we see that Jesus multiplied the little that was offered. This tells us that Jesus did not need the little that was offered. Why? Because He is God. He used it, but He did not need it. The power of God, the presence of God is sufficient with or without our offerings. God is more than able to meet any need because God is sufficient. More on that in a moment.

God works through people. Again, He does not require you or me, but He chooses you and I. God has decided that in His infinite wisdom He would work through the Church. He would choose the lowly and foolish things to accomplish His plans and purposes. I wouldn’t choose you and me, but God did, and it is for our good that He does.

God choosing to use us is for our good just as much as it is for someone else. When we serve others, when we give of our time, when we give of our money we grow into the image of Christ. God choosing to use us means we get to partner with God in the things He is doing. If we think about like when our parents would let us “help them” we can see this a little clearer. Our parents did not need our help and in some cases, our “help” was actually no help at all. But that used those moments to teach us and to grow us. We learned more about how it was done, the heart of our parents, and the value of service in those moments.

God being a good Father is so much more than our earthly parents. Again, He does not need our help, but He allows us to help so that we might grow. God does not need me to share these things with you. The Holy Spirit is much more capable than I and could easily communicate this message to you and He can do it better than I can, but He allows me to help so that I might grow too.

Going back to the first part of this story we can see that Jesus us sufficient. He can meet the need all by Himself. Somehow this gets turned into a prosperity Gospel message but when we look at the text we see the people got what they needed and wanted Jesus to do more so He left. That should be a message to all those who say God wants you to have it all.

Jesus is the sufficiency, not the stuff. God gives gifts. He supplies the need, but He wants us to desire Him and His ways.

Just a thought,

Mike

Give us Bread daily

When my daughter gets home from school she usually asks two questions: first can I have a snack and second what is for dinner. Both questions relate to food and while one is permission to eat something knowing dinner will come soon they both have the same understand namely that we have food and she can have it. She does not wonder if we have food, she does not worry about if we will have more tomorrow she knows we will feed her it is a given in her mind. These things are settled, they are not questions to her.

Likewise in Matthew chapter 6 Jesus talks to the people about making God’s will and desires a priority in their life and not to worry about what you will eat or drink or wear. He says your Father knows you need these things so don’t worry about it. We question whether or not God cares for our physical needs and He does. Jesus says in Luke 4:4 which is a quote of Deuteronomy 8:3.

But Jesus answered him saying “It is written man should not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.”

When we read this often times we emphasis the second part of this “but by every word of God” but there is a but there. If you have seen SchoolHouse rock then you remember the song about conjunctions and “but” is a conjunction. It serves the purpose to bring two clauses, phrases, or ideas together. In this case it connects the first idea that man needs bread to live and the idea that man needs the words of God to live. Both are required for a person to live a real life. Jesus is not proposing that we live off Unveriverse Juice like in Kung Fu Panda but that we need both our physical and spiritual needs met.

It should be a given in our mind that God cares for our physical needs, it should not be something we wonder about. Some who are either convinced miracles do not occur or are too scared to pray in faith for miracle make everything spiritual. Every reference to something physical becomes about a spiritual truth, and any attempt to seek something physical is met with charges of carnality. One of the many problems with this is that it leads to a belief that the physical world is inherently evil and there is nothing of value in it. This idea was popular during the Dark Ages and we see how well that worked out.

Some others who are so worldly minded have decided that everything is physical. It is not great faith that motivates them it is a love for the world and the things of the world. There are those who so love the world that they have named and claimed everything under the sun. I can admit I have been on both sides of this and fear that I will continue to battle this at times.

When we move to the point of settling the idea that God does care for our physical needs and physical well being we can move on to maturity and start to focus on His will, plans, and desires. We can pray for things like resources to accomplish plans, salvation for others, ways to reach the lost, ways to equip the saints, but it starts with an understanding that God cares about you physically and not just your eternal soul.

That is why Jesus tells us in the Lord’s Prayer to ask for this day’s bread. Don’t worry about what you’ll put in your belly tomorrow. Tomorrow has enough problems of its own sufficient are the issues of today. That does not mean you do not plan if you can but don’t worry about it. Be anxious for nothing but in all things with prayer and supplication let your request be known to God.

I would be remiss if I do not mention something very important. Jesus refers to Himself as the bread of life and this is part of the reason settling the question of physical provision from God in your life is important. When we first learn God provides for our physical we can then move on to understand that Jesus also provides for our spiritual provisions.  In John 6:27 & 35 Jesus says:

Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the father has set His seal on Him – 27

And Jesus said to them “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst” – 35

We do need physical substance to survive but we need spiritual substance to really live. This is where wisdom in reading the Bible comes in. We need both but one is more important than the other, and the most important one is spiritual. Preference to your spiritual needs are always to be met first. If you can only choose between reading and pray or eating than reading and prayer are to be given priority. You are to feed your spirit before your body because that is the part that connects you to God and realistically skipping a meal is not going to kill you. It might make you grumpy but you probably won’t die (maybe if you are a diabetic but I don’t know anything about that). The point is again you need both and God cares for both but connecting with Him and spending time with Him is the most important thing you can do.

So how do we feed on the Bread of Life? We do it by praying, reading and studying the Bible, by worshiping, by serving, by making ourselves second, and I think most importantly by understanding our place. Our place is in Christ. Everything we are is tied with our resurrected Savior. Everything we need is found in Him, and there is nothing we need that is outside of Him because again all that we are is bound up in Him. I want to give you a few verses to chew on over the week.

Galatians 2:20, Colossians 3:3, Ephesians 2:5-6, Romans 6:8, 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10, 2 Corinthians 5:15-21, and Philippians 3:20.

The point of the matter is this; God cares for you. He cares for your body and your soul. We should rest the issues of physical provision and seek the Bread of Life so that we can truly be filled.

Just a thought,

Mike