Have you ever noticed that you can read the same passages of Scripture and see something new each time? I love how God can show us new facets of His character in familiar things.
We have been reading the gospel of Mark as a family this month. The plan is that we read a few chapters, then talk about what we have read each week. This week I have been focused on miracles involving food. (no surprise there) Mark records two instances where a significant number of people are fed when the budget and supplies are severely lacking. (Mark 6:30-44, Mark 8:1-10)
I find it interesting that feeding 4000 people gets significantly less notice than feeding 5000, as if 4000 fed with 7 loaves of bread and a “few” fish is any less amazing than 5000 with 5 loaves and two fish. Of course, what Mark is trying to illustrate is that when Jesus has done something once, we can and should expect for Him to do it again. That is the familiar lesson. God wanted to remind me of something different this time around.
I noticed that the first thing that had to happen was that Jesus had to be given the resources that were available each time. He could so easily have conjured a banquet from thin air, yet He asked for what was available. We will never have enough to fulfil the vision that God has for us, both individually and corporately, but He is a God who wants us to partner with Him. As we come with what we have, He brings His resources. I once heard it said that if our vision for what God wants us to do doesn’t scare us a little, it probably isn’t from God. The truth is that if we can accomplish something without faith, we will. God wants us to press into Him, to work with Him. He says it is OK for us to dream huge dreams because what He brings to the equation will meet any deficit we have.
The second thing I noticed, was that anything that Heaven touches multiplies. From five loaves and two fish, to seven loaves and a few fish, the involvement of Jesus made all the difference. I think that often we are so caught up in the way we want a prayer to be answered we miss the more that Jesus has done right in front of us. The disciples wanted to feed the people. They had no idea how that was going to happen. Perhaps they thought that each person could have a small bite, which would sustain them on the journey to the next village so they could buy their own food. They had no idea that food could be multiplied simply by breaking it up. How often do find ourselves afraid to begin a project because we don’t have enough to meet the immediate needs? I understand that there is a season for everything, sometimes things need to stop. Sometimes we need to wait until the provision is there. Sometimes though, we just need to trust that Heaven is at work, and as such will provide all the resources needed. It is vital though, to keep listening to the Spirit.
Finally, I learned that not only does God want my involvement, not only will Heaven multiply what I have to give so that I have enough, the heart of Heaven is for excess. Ephesians 3:20 (Amp)– “Now to Him who is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly more than all that we dare ask or think [infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams], according to His power that is at work within us” To often we are satisfied with needs met, let alone abundance. Paul wants us to grasp the concept that the God we follow, worship and love has more that we could ever want, need or (more importantly to grasp) desire.
There is a line in the film Braveheart where William Wallace says to the ‘nobles’ “You’re so content with squabbling for scraps from Longshank’s table that you’ve missed your God given right for something better.”
I believe it is time to expect more. Time to offer what we have, giving more than lip service to the belief that He will multiply it. Time to look for the excess, and not be ashamed that our Father in Heaven has blessed us. Time to use what He has superabundantly given us to bless others. time for us to be amazed at His goodness again.