Monday, August 1, 2011

Five Loaves and Two Fish

Yesterday's Gospel reading was the passage in Matthew, chapter 14, where Jesus multiplies the loaves and fish in order to feed the multitude.  I have heard this particular reading a number of times in my life, but because of the circumstances in my own life, I heard it in a completely new way this time.  Such is the power of the Word, that it speaks to us where ever we are in our faith walk.

You see, right now, I have a minimum wage job that isn't going to bring in enough to meet the bills I have, let alone pay off the debts that I owe. I need $1330 just to catch up with my present past due amounts including some of July's rent and all of August's. I've been feeling very discouraged by all of this.  I've been feeling inadequate to the task, fully aware that my own efforts are insufficient.  I imagine this is exactly how Peter and the other apostles must have felt when Jesus told them to feed the crowds.

They probably felt even worse when, after searching everywhere, the best they could do was to bring Jesus five loaves and two fish. The math, as in my own situation, was very clear.  There was simply no way what they had was going to be enough to cover what they needed.  Jesus did not rebuke them for failing to come up with more. He knew they had done everything they could.  All He asked of them was that they bring Him what they had gathered and turn it over to Him.  Then He blessed the fruits of their efforts, and when He was done it not only covered all of their need but there was plenty left over - enough to fill 12 wicker baskets.

I heard God speaking to me in that reading.  He knows I'm doing my best. He knows that the math says what I have done is not going to be good enough, it is not going to cover what I need.  He isn't rebuking me for failing to come up with more.  All He asks is that I turn over to Him everything I have done, and let Him bless the fruits of my efforts.  When He is done, it will not only cover all my needs but there will be plenty left over.  I just have to have faith in His power.

Of course, this is true about more than just my monetary needs. It is true about my need for salvation, too.  My own efforts will never be good enough. I can never do enough and my work will always fall short, mathematically speaking, of the need.  God doesn't rebuke me for failing to come up with everything needed to cover the debt, He knows that I am doing all I can.  He simply asks that I bring my efforts and my struggles to Him, allow Him to bless them and multiply them.  His grace will cover what is needed with an astonishing abundance.  I simply have to trust Him.

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