“But Jesus said, “That isn’t necessary—you feed them.”
“But we have only five loaves of bread and two fish!” they answered. (Mt 14:16-17)
Isn’t this the common response of most of us to a situation of need? To size up the situation entirely on what is needed, and then compare it to what we have and don’t have, and conclude there is no way?
As Christians we know, love and serve the God who created and holds together the entire universe with only His word; the God who parts the sea and destroys mighty armies; the God who guides Gideon and 300 warriors to defeat armies of tens of thousands. But, though we have read of or even seen amazing miracles, how is it that we still fail to perceive that nothing is impossible with God?
If crippled legs can grow and become useful before one’s very eyes, if blind eyes can be healed with a touch, if a crazy man of the Gadarenes can be set free from legions of demons with simply an order, and if Jesus can control ocean storms and walk on water… why then could the disciples not yet creatively anticipate the possibilities? Could the disciples not have said in response to this new dilemma, “OK, let’s see another miracle!” Instead, they were -as we usually are- stuck in the all-to-common faithless human condition, focusing only on what they could see, unable to creatively perceive what could be.
As disciples of Christ, when will we learn it’s not about our own resources? When will we perceive that God is not limited by our limitations? That it’s never about what is or is not in our possession? And when will we understand it’s never about what we DON’T have?
The disciples here could not yet look beyond what they didn’t have. Focusing on what they did not have, they then compare that to what was needed, and concluded they can do nothing. Jesus on the other hand did not even care how many fish or loaves they had! It made no difference what the numbers were. He knew that a miracle was needed regardless, and in the end thousands of people were fed.
How I hope and pray that we see a day once again when we, as Christ’s disciples, walk in the ability of the power of God, not limiting our ministries or actions to our own meager means and resources. A day when we too can say to a cripple man, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have [and that can accomplish far more!] I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” (Acts 3:6 ESV).
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