Jesus turned to Philip, one of his disciples, and asked, "Where will we find food for all these people?" There was certainly no McDonald's within sight and no pizza delivery.
Philip froze, like a deer in the headlights. "Uh, I don't have a clue. Feeding this crowd would cost more than I make in a whole year!"
Andrew, another disciple, found a little boy who had a small lunch: five loaves and two fish. He brought the meager morsels to Jesus, and said, "This is all we've got."
When he gave the lunch Jesus, a great miracle occurred! Jesus took the lunch, blessed it, broke it, multiplied it and gave it to the people. It was absolutely unbelievable! Everybody ate and there were 12 baskets of leftovers!
I can relate to that story.
Sometimes, I feel like the helpless disciples wondering how to feed the crowd -- and all I can muster up are a few scrawny bluegills and less than a half dozen bagels.
But our Lord allows us to pass through the overwhelmed times -- the deep waters -- to teach us to float in His goodness and grace.
Just recently, God gave me this teaching about our weakness.
1. Sometimes, we deny our weakness and limitation. We act like super-heroes who are able to take it all on. We end up pressured and overloaded because we are carrying burdens we were not created to bear. I tend to do this -- acting strong and carrying too much on my shoulders.
The fishermen disciples could have said, "Well, Jesus said give them something to eat, so we'd better get to work. We're decent fishermen, so let's get out there and fish, fish, fish! Maybe, if we fish our hearts out all day and knock ourselves out, we might possibly provide a snack for most of them."
When we assume the responsibility for everyone, and take the load on our shoulders, we over-perform. There is no joy in over-performance.
2. Sometimes, we wallow in our weakness and limitation. We just give up, and check out.
The disciples could have said, "Are you crazy?" There's not enough to go around. Maybe if we ignore them, they will go away. Besides, why on earth did all these idiots show up without considering how they were going to eat? It's not my responsibility to feed all these people! It's not my problem. They just need to be feed themselves!
So -- we numb ourselves against compassion. We cease caring because it won't hurt so much. There is no joy in under-performing.
3. But what did the disciples do? They took the little bit they had, gave it to Jesus, and he MULTIPLIED it! He fed the whole gang with a dozen baskets left over (that's one basket for each of the disciples!)
When faced with a responsibility bigger than ourselves, the best thing to do is turn it over toJesus and see what He can do with it!
He provides the juice! That's the kind of energy we need!
"My power is made perfect in your weakness!"
"Be strong in the Lord and the power of His might!"
"To this end I labor, struggling with all His energy that so powerfully works in me!"
"You will receive Power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you"
"Not by might, nor by power but by My Spirit says the Lord!"
The secret to the power is abiding in Christ. Give Him your bagels and bluegills and see what He will do with them!