Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a large crowd was coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?” He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread would not be enough for each of them to get a little.” One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?”
That young boy. Thousands of hungry people. No food. His mother’s carefully packed lunch. Those loaves, the fish, how can they possibly feed so many???
How many of us have asked the same question? I know I have. How did Andrew know the boy had the fish and loaves? He must have stepped forward and offered them. Courageous. Naivety or faith to think his paltry lunch could feed everyone. Most boys I know would have already eaten half the bag and hid the rest. He boldly offered what he had without reservation.
In February this year we moved back to Charlottesville, VA where we had lived in the early 2000s. I have been seeing my former naturopathic chiropractor for work on my locked up hips (due to years of walking like a duck) and the MS. In our sessions she keeps redirecting me to walk heel down, toes in, and face up and forward–not looking down to the ground. It’s not easy, but I am seeing the progress. Retraining. I’ve been duck walking for over 40 years, quack quack.
It takes courage to see through our circumstances, the material world, and into the possibilities of the Spirit. I have been reminded over and over again to keep my eyes fixed straight ahead on Christ, not my finances, housing, health, kids, cat, business, etc….
As Christians we often walk a gimpy walk. What happened to remembering and practicing the essentials?
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” – Romans 8:28
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” – Matthew 7:7-11
“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. As it is written, He has distributed freely, He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever.” He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.” – 2 Corinthians 9:8-11
“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” – Psalm 84:11
“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be My disciples.” – John 15:7-8
I want to be the young boy, even one of the disciples who whispered to Jesus about the child offering his loaves and fish–to courageously believe for a miracle. At times, my husband Mark and I have felt led to give in the face of deficits. And it has never failed that He provided. You can’t out give God. When we freely offer ourselves, our all in the name of Christ–we can lean in on His promise to be our all.
Another dimension to courageously move forward in faith is to lay down our own ideals of what we think should develop and be willing to be available as the Spirit leads. I still have a dream which I long to see fulfilled. I believe it came from God, but here I, too, surrender, and say, Lord, let your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven, and don’t allow my interpretation of when and what I think is going to happen warp my trust and compliance in the Spirit. All too often we come to God with our human ideals of what we believe should materialize and become disillusioned when they fail. Some years ago American Christian success was measured by how prosperous a person was. It was disconcerting to read the biographies of believers around the world living in adverse conditions, even persecution for their faith and try to reconcile their faith with what was being preached in my land. Talk about bold courage–their lives reflected it significantly more than a number of wealthy, seemingly successful Christians I knew. Health versus poor health–the physically fit individual doesn’t necessarily reflect Christ better than the invalid who rises daily with joy in Christ.
Imagine the hundreds of people on the hills that day–men, women, children, huddled on the grass hill, eager to hear each word of this teacher who was bringing life. Hungry after hours of listening to Jesus teach, probably desperate because there was no possibility of a meal any time soon–no taco shop down the street. See the disciples’ sincere desire to feed them, to serve, but in looking around, they, too couldn’t see any hope of a meal. Picture this boy, his loaves and fish bravely offered in the face of gross insufficiency. Imagine Jesus miraculously multiply this small gift, distribute freely, feed, and meet their immediate needs.
He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He can multiply our loaves and fish. May we courageously believe it.
Mary has cherished life-long literary dreams coupled with a passion for ministry, all of which lead her to study English literature and later theology and counseling in seminary. She has been designing artisan jewelry for nine years while homeschooling son Ian and daughter Julianna. After 14 years of ministry in San Diego she and her husband Mark Miller, along with their teenagers and cat, Lord Peter Wimsey relocated to Charlottesville, VA where they enjoy farm life, chickens and all. Mary enjoys off-the-wall humor, gardening, cooking, and curling up with anything penned by Dorothy Sayers, C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, or Jane Austen.