If we grew up in church, we have heard the same Bible stories so often we tend to tune them out. They become like the teacher on Charlie Brown. We hear where the Pastor will be preaching from and draw our conclusions – we know the end of the story, so we fail to hear the lesson. We forget that God’s Word is alive and active. We miss the teaching because we have made up our minds we know the story. It becomes all “blah” and no blessing. Today’s scripture is familiar – so familiar most people, even those who haven’t been in church for a long time, would know. We reference it as the feeding of the 5,000. We know what happens – Jesus feeds 5,000. But there is so much more going on than bread and fish. And we miss it because we think we know the story. May God open our hearts, minds, and eyes to receive even more from his message to us.
You may be thinking – this is exactly what I remembered it to be. I want to think of it from a different perspective this morning. Let’s put ourselves in the sandals of the disciples for just a moment. They are with Jesus, he has heard devastating news. They have had to do one of the most difficult things in their walk with Jesus. They have had to bury Jesus’ friend, his cousin, his fellow worker in the kingdom. They have buried John the Baptist. And they have to tell Jesus what has happened. What a devastating time for Jesus. He needed to grieve. He needed time to process this. So he went to be alone.
He pulls up in his boat and is greeted by a crowd of people. The disciples likely thought about how long of a day this had already been and how they just wanted to go away. But Jesus saw differently. He saw a group of people who needed to be loved. It says he had compassion on them. He saw people he wanted to help and spend time walking alongside. He saw children. And so, Jesus did what Jesus does. He loved on them. He reminded them of their worth. He showed them a different side of the Kingdom. He brought life to this crowd that was so starving for real life.
It was evening. They are getting hungry. The disciples have likely huddled together and realized it was time to wrap up this party. They decide it is time to send them all home. They need to go get themselves some food. And Jesus says something most interesting – “you give them something to eat.” This is one of the more interesting commands of Jesus to me. He tells the disciples to give this huge crowd of people something to eat – don’t send them away. Don’t try to take up a collection. Don’t do anything but feed them.
The Scriptures don’t give us a time factor. So we are just told the story. But I want us to use a bit of holy imagination, if you will. Jesus is talking to his trusted 12 – the guys who have walked with him and heard him speak. They have seen Jesus at work. And now Jesus is asking something of them. He wants them to give the crowd something to eat. The command is overwhelming. The task is monumental. I can only imagine how they were trying to figure out how this was going to happen. They likely were trying to work out the numbers. If there are this many people and they need this much to feed each, then we need this much to make this happen. Imagine asking Judas how much was in the box (and probably less than what they thought). Judas would have let them know real quick there wasn’t enough for all of that. Plus there is a time factor. They can’t just run down to the store. No one has this supply of bread on hand. Maybe everyone could take a bite – a sample – just enough so they don’t starve out here. It had to be a confusing and troubling few moments. I wonder how long Jesus let them try to figure it out before he just took over.
Here’s the deal – they saw impossibility – they saw scarcity – they saw the lack of resources – they saw all the reasons this was not possible. Those 12 knew this was simply impossible. There wasn’t enough money or time or people. This was ridiculous and the command seems preposterous. But not to Jesus. Had anyone asked Jesus what he would do? Had they asked him for guidance? All I hear is the limitations. They saw what little they had and it wasn’t enough – so they gave up. But Jesus doesn’t work by our economy. Jesus works by a whole different system. Jesus works from the heavenly economy of enough.
The heavenly economy reminds us of a few things –
When God is the center of it all, there is enough. We live in a land of abundance, yet we are starving. We hoard what we have because we have been frightened there would never be enough. People steal and take and selfishly hold onto because of this idea of not enough. We have more than we need but we live in a world of never enough. There will never be enough.
We cannot earn enough money. We cannot get enough recognition. We cannot achieve enough accolades. We cannot be enough. We never have enough. We never feel we are enough. It is every man for himself – look out for yourself because no one else will. Take what you can before someone else does. When is enough actually enough? -Never as long as the focus is inward. Enough will only ever be enough when we follow God. In his Kingdom, there is always enough.
Jesus gave them all something to eat that day – there was more than enough because HE was at the center of it. He is enough. And when we follow Christ – we are enough too. He has provided all we need to be all he has called us to be. He has filled us with good things. We are overflowing with gifts and possibilities. It may not be what we would imagine. It doesn’t look like the achievements of this world. It looks like serving our Creator – with all we are and all we have – and that’s enough.
YOU are enough. We cannot wait until… we have enough money, time, resources, gifts, training, skills. Sometimes, Jesus simply asks us to see differently – we have enough and we are enough. We are loved beyond measure. We are children of the Most High God. We are called God’s beloved. We are welcomed into the family. We are given a seat at the table. There is an abundance at God’s feast. And all are welcomed. We cannot be good enough or do enough good things. We simply are invited because we are enough – God can take care of the rest. Follow Christ – there is room for you too!