Well… how many loaves have you got? – or – Why don’t you give them something?

Mark 6:34-42 (from the Kingdom New Testament… emphasis mine to show you what stuck out to me today)

When Jesus got out of the boat he saw the huge crowd, and was deeply sorry for them, because they were like a flock without a shepherd. So he started to teach them many things.

It was already getting late when his disciples came to him and said, “Look: there’s nothing here. It’s getting late. Send them away. They need to go off into the countryside and the villages and buy themselves some food.”

“Why don’t you give them something?” Jesus replied.

“Are you suggesting,” they asked, “that we should go and spend two hundred dinars and get food for this lot?”

“Well,” said Jesus, “how many loaves have got?” Go and see.”

They found out, and said, “Five, and a couple of fish.”

Jesus told them to sit everyone down … Then he took the five loaves and the two fish, looked up to heaven, blessed the bread, broke it, and gave it to his disciples to give to the crowd… Everyone ate, and had plenty.

Maybe I’m just emotional, (a few people have hinted that I have those tendencies) but what I see here is an amazing example of the Father’s heart for us. Set aside the spectacle of the miracle and you see a relationship. You see mercy, and you see grace (power from heaven) coming through to make up for where we fall short.

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A few weeks ago I had the privilege of visiting a missions organization who does disaster relief. They train young people in the scriptures, in hearing the word of God, and to discipline their bodies relentlessly. A few loved ones are participating in their year-long program, and they had graduated from the “boot camp” portion of the internship, so we went for this event.

We toured their  dorms, which are on a cargo ship. The ship is no cruise liner. Paint is peeling. Things are not pristine. But… things are clean, well loved, and maintained. They’re using what they’ve got to the fullest extent that they can.

In fact, every single piece of machinery that this relief organization owned had been given by the same faith that Christ had when he asked the Father to bless those loaves and fishes.

These folk impressed me with the lack of excess in what they utilized. They didn’t squander their finances trying to transform a crusty ole ship into a fancy, cozy ship. No, they said, “What have we got? oh… it’s a crusty old ship. Let’s lift it up to the Father and ask him to bless it to feed the many.”

And you know what, the Father has done the same thing with them, no… he’s done more with them than he has with the feeding of the 5,000 we read about in Mark. Yep, we’re meant to do greater things than Jesus, so we shouldn’t be surprised when we see the proof. Seriously, you wouldn’t believe the stories.

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I want that too…I’m jealous.

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I look at my home. I live in a trailer, in a village of trailers. Not all of them are in the greatest shape. They’re kind of like those ships I was talking about… run down and such.

We can spend our finances on life together, on people who we can have fellowship, on necessities, or … we can try to transform our trailers into something their not, attempting to make them into condos and fancy places that people are in awe of.

Sure, I want people to feel welcome, safe, loved in my home. I want it to be a place where people come to be creative and find life.

But will I do that by getting fancy stuff and redoing everything? I’m more and more convinced that, no, this isn’t the way. Sure, if God wants that, he’ll provide it. But no, I feel him asking me to take my finances, my stuff, my everything, and lift it up and ask him to use it to feed the people. And a lot of time that money goes to food, feasts, and fun, meeting needs… (kinda like the lady pouring out the expensive perfume on Christ’s feet)

This is my beautiful wife utilizing what we've got to make our house pretty

This is my beautiful wife utilizing what we’ve got to make our house pretty

The people need spiritual food. The Father wants us to utilize what we’ve got and let the Kingdom infect everyone. He wants to take our lack and make those around us wide eyed with the glory of God… but it’s bigger than that, this is a principal at the very foundation of life in the Kingdom of Heaven. The Kingdom  is upside down.

We build earthly kingdoms with might, money, aggression and strength.

But the Kingdom of heaven is built on grace, that amazing power from heave. It is built on mercy, utilizing even the weakest aspects of our lives for great, great things. On the creative and incredible heart of a Father who loves to make something out of nothing… those moments when we cry out, “But Father! There’s nothing here!”

I have often felt like I’m nothing to work with. Even more, that I’m in the way. But no, I’m me… he made me, me. And he made you, you. Offer it up, just like those pitiful few loaves and fishes, and he will bless it to feed the multitudes.

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