Morning on the Sea of Galilee.
Stepping over the threshold of 2012 is like standing before a big door and not knowing what is on the other side. It is about 99% joyful anticipation and one percent dread of the unknown. How many hills and valleys stretch before us? Faith must arise in our hearts as we journey through the weeks and months before we actually comprehend what steps the pathway will take.
Let me share something with you I read this morning from Mark 6: 39-44. This is the story of Jesus feeding the multitudes with five loaves and two fish.
The disciples stood before a hungry crowd on the hills surrounding the Sea of Galilee. It had been a long day of ministry and teaching. They yearned to fade away into the evening with the Master, but the people stayed and pressed closer to Jesus and the twelve as the sun began to set.
In that moment of exhaustion and need to retreat, our Lord asked the impossible of them . He instructed the disciples to feed the multitude. The scripture tells us it was about 5,000 people.
“The Message” translation says the disciples responded like this: “Are you serious? You want us to go spend a fortune on food for their supper?” Jesus ignored their faithlessness and worldly reasoning and pressed on with a plan, and I gleaned so much from what He did:
1) Jesus asked the crowd to sit in groups. –This act of organization prepared the masses to receive and allowed them to rest peacefully as they waited.
2) Jesus called for the resources available, and He blessed the God of heaven for the two fish and five loaves. –Jesus thanked the Lord for what was already provided, although it was laughably little compared to the need.
3) Jesus broke the bread. –He demonstrated diligence and resourcefulness with what was provided, and He pressed on to feed the hungry people with what was at hand.
4) The disciples passed the bread to the crowd. –They showed generosity and not stinginess with the little.
5) God miraculously multiplied the food. There was enough for all with 12 baskets left over!
I have always believed that God wants to answer my prayers with abundance in every area, financially and otherwise. And I have kept my hope and heart open to the miracle of receiving 12 baskets leftover. In other words, I have believed God wanted to answer my prayers in big ways that would produce much fruitfulness.
But it seems I have had the cart before the horse. I have prayed and believed God would send the over-provision or surplus or I might even call it the “million dollars” that would thrust me over the top to do His will.
By focusing on the super abundance of the 12 baskets leftover, I missed the fact that God starts with five loaves of bread and two fish — an impossible and insufficient amount to do the job… to feed the 5,000! This is where the miracle takes place — in the ridiculousness of the insufficiency. As the disciples prepared the people to receive, thanked the Lord for what was provided, broke and distributed it, suddenly it multiplied. No one knows how except the Lord.
And it grew and grew until there were 12 baskets leftover. I have been focusing on the big and not the small, actually thinking God was not answering my prayer as He promised. The truth is that many times in life my husband and I stood at the point of insufficiency, and God has multiplied and multiplied so there has been plenty and more than plenty.
God doesn’t answer your prayer for ample provision immediately with twelve baskets leftover. He begins first with the insufficient five loaves and two fish and thousands of hungry people. He offers you the choice to receive it with gratitude and administrate it faithfully, although it is ridiculously small compared to the need.
The rest will be history — another miracle on the shores of the Galilee with 12 baskets leftover. That’s the kind of year I feel 2012 will be for those who faithfully steward what is set before them.
That is God’s way.
The opportunities before us in 2012 are great, but I am in reality about the material resources currently available. We need a miracle, and we know the Miracle Worker! The Bible truth from Mark has strengthened my faith as I look to God to increase what we have. I must take diligence with stewarding it faithfully, and I must continue to be generous as I look to God alone to multiply.
I am sure you feel the same as you peer into the unknown components of the year in a season of economic downturn. Two factors are clear: There are many pressing needs and limited resources on paper. You need a miracle too! Let us lift our eyes together to God above who will supply all our needs according to His riches in heaven, just like He did on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.