There once was a boy who learned that his inadequacies in the hands of Jesus could be used to meet the needs of others with a kind of abundance that he could not have imagined.
I want to learn that lesson. I need to learn it again.
“God has been so faithful to meet all of our needs, but when surrounded by masses of hungry people—soul-hungry students—how can we possibly feed them all?” – Sean Cullen
In John 6:1-13, Jesus and the disciples found themselves surrounded by a great crowd of more than 5000 people. They were hungry, and in spite of there being no local fast food restaurant to meet the crowd’s demand, Jesus gave his friends a seemingly impossible task. “Feed them,” he said, pointing to the masses all around.
The disciples looked at each other incredulously and then began to take stock of what they had. Turning out their pockets, emptying their bags of supplies, they gathered their shared resources and were left wanting.
They had no food… except the lunch of one small boy.
He had just enough for himself. He knew that his own meal was adequately supplied and realized that giving up his food for the sake of the crowd could mean that he’d risk going hungry.
But something in the master’s voice must have compelled him to do the unnatural.He shared. He willingly sacrificed his assured satisfaction so that others’ needs might be met.
Fighting through the temptation to turn back and just take care of himself, the boy sidled up to the skeptical group of disciples. He presented his bread and anchovies to Jesus. I imagine our Saviour smiling at the boy as he accepted his meager lunch into his hands.
What a moment! The moment when Jesus takes your inadequate offering into his hands.
That boy would have then watched amazed as Jesus gave thanks to his Father for the provision and began to pass out the lunch. That meager offering multiplied, and everyone ate what they wanted until the entire crowd was satisfied.
“There is no better place to invest the little we have than in the hands of Jesus.” – Sean Cullen
And in the end there were still baskets full of leftovers.
I love this story. Did you know that, aside from the resurrection story, this is the only miracle of Jesus recorded in all four New Testament Gospel accounts? What in this story is so important for us to learn from?
I wonder if in light of the enormity of the task that Jesus has given us—that seemingly impossible task of bringing the gospel to not just some, but all nations—that we would desperately need to remember the lessons that this story contains.
I want students to know Jesus. I long for the day when we can give every student the chance to lean into a conversation about who Jesus is, how amazing he is, how he changes everything, how he died for them and wants to bring them life. I’m not alone in longing for this. Perhaps you do too? And like me do you also feel woefully inadequate?
Everywhere I go I seem to be having the same conversation over and over again. It’s a conversation that I find myself having with friends, partners, pastors, P2C staff and our student leaders.“The need is so great, but we are so inadequately supplied.”
God has been so faithful to meet all of our needs, but when surrounded by masses of hungry people—soul-hungry students—how can we possibly feed them all? We are surrounded by students who are hungry and longing for love and purpose. If only we had better strategies, or more workers, or more funding, or more time, or energy, or more … and the list goes on.
Do we have any hope to change the world?
Brothers and sisters, as you read this, know that we do have enough. May I encourage you? Take a moment today to read John 6:1-13 for yourselves, and remember these three things:
We must share
Like that boy who gave Jesus his lunch, we must be willing to fight the temptation to just take care of ourselves and rather sacrifice even the meager resources we have so that Jesus can use us. We must come together as people of the same heart and partner with a unified vision, so that together we can bring the gospel to an entire generation.
“…we must be willing to fight the temptation to just take care of ourselves and rather sacrifice even the meager resources we have so that Jesus can use us.” – Sean Cullen
We must pray
Even if we pooled all our resources together, we would still be woefully short of having enough to make a difference. To feed the masses, Jesus must multiply our bread.There is no better place to invest the little we have than in the hands of Jesus.
Let us be a people who cry out to him, giving thanks for his provision, and asking him to make our offering sufficient to satisfy the masses.
We must be expectant
When Jesus receives our inadequacies in his hands and blesses them… stuff happens. Cups overflow, streams bubble up from within, fruit is multiplied a hundredfold and we are all going to be carrying around a basket of leftovers. But here is the thing about abundance that I often forget to expect: abundance will require work, energy, and commitment.
I catch myself thinking: “If I give my little to Jesus, and he does what he is able to, can I step back and put my feet up?”
I forget that there are baskets full of leftovers to collect. Those leftovers are an abundance, a reminder that our God is capable of all impossible things. We need to give him the little we have, believing that he’ll take it and use it to feed the masses. Let’s be ready to respond.
If we come together and share our meager resources—our ideas, our time, our funds, our people—and if we come together and pray earnestly for him to put his hands on our mission, there will be an abundance of very good work to do.
We are launching a new year of ministry. I can’t help but feel a little inadequate for the task ahead. But I am learning that my inadequacies in Jesus’ hands can produce amazing results for his glory. As we partner and pray, I am expectant that Jesus is going to show himself abundantly adequate.
“If we come together and share our meager resources—our ideas, our time, our funds, our people—and if we come together and pray earnestly for him to put his hands on our mission, there will be an abundance of very good work to do.” – Sean Cullen