Week of April 1
Counting on God’s Abundance
Have your thoughts lately been focused on what you lack? Are you concerned about the lack of a strong economy, the lack of godliness in America, or even your own lack of ability to walk out your faith in a difficult world? Read John 6:1-15 and discover what happens when we place everything of concern into the Master’s hands and refuse to dwell on what we lack.
After an intense day of preaching to crowds of people, Jesus realized that the crowd was hungry and had made no provision for their next meal. Instead of expecting them to be self-reliant, Jesus felt deep compassion on them. The word used to describe Jesus’ compassion communicates that he had a physical, visceral feeling—much like pain—for them.
Jesus used the problem of feeding the hungry crowd to grow the faith of three people who were present that day. First, He asked Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do” (John 6:5b-6).
Jesus knew that Philip was thoughtful, analytical and cautious. True to his nature, Philip offered the analytical answer that it would take eight months of wages to feed the crowd, and the lack of this sum was very clear.
Andrew offered a half-hearted suggestion but with no expectation that all the needs would be met. He did mention that there was a young boy with three loaves the size of silver dollar pancakes and two sardine-sized fish. He suggested this as if the offering were just a way to put a minor patch on an overwhelming problem.
The only person who wholeheartedly gave his all to Jesus with faith and expectation was the boy. He did not operate out of his lack, his hunger, his rights to the lunch he had brought for himself, or an expectation of receiving anything in return. Instead, he turned his entire lunch over to Jesus to see what He would do, and he was not disappointed.
“Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish” (John 6:11).
Not only were the boy’s needs met, he had the joy of seeing his lunch feed over 5,000 people. Then, he watched as another 12 basketfuls of food were collected. Jesus could have fed the crowd without anyone’s help, but the young boy received an exciting and unforgettable blessing as he became part of the miracle.
What do you have that you can give to Jesus? Are you holding back because you believe your gift is too small or won’t make a difference? Lately, have you focused on your lack instead of seeing what God will do with what you have to offer? You may be missing an exciting blessing when you hold back even part of what God wants you to yield to him, whether your talents, your time, your testimony, or your money. The same mercy He had for the hungry crowd, He will show you.
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Today, we live in a culture that is increasingly hostile to biblical values. It takes great courage and faith to live as a follower of Christ in a world characterized by moral depravity, injustice, idolatry, and more…but it is possible!
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