A Packed Lunch (17-08-22)
Psalm of Praise: Psalms 33:2-4
Praise the Lord with the harp; make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre.
Sing to him a new song; play skilfully and shout for joy.
For the word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does.
Bible Reading: John 6:5, 7-11
Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him.
He said to Philip, "Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?"
Philip answered him, "It would take more than half a year's wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!"
Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, spoke up, "Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?"
Jesus said, "Have the people sit down."
There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there).
Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.
I wonder if someone has ever asked you to do something for which you felt totally inadequate.
It may be that you didn’t feel you had the skill needed to do the task, or you lacked the courage. Or maybe you didn’t think you had enough time to do the job properly, or enough money to pay for what was needed. What did you do? How did you cope?
I guess Philip might have felt a sense of panic when Jesus asked him how they were going to manage to feed five thousand people. Philip was clearly rational; he calculated 5,000 times the cost of a packed lunch and concluded that it would take more than six months’ salary to pay for it; and there were no credit card machines available on the mountainside!
Andrew, on the other hand, seemed to like to state the obvious, but with a sense of resignation, ‘There is a boy here willing to share his packed lunch, but that won't go far amongst this number.’
Both Philip and Andrew were right in their own way. The trouble was they were both looking at the problem simply from the perspective of their own resources.
I think we can all respond like this at times, and it can often lead to panic, anxiety and stress, or it can lead to a sense of failure and inadequacy.
There is a better way though, and that is to accept the limitation of our own resources and to look beyond them to God's infinite resources. Humanly speaking five loaves and two fish are indeed inadequate to feed five thousand, but with God’s blessing there was more than adequate.
We all feel inadequate at different times, and there are some huge needs and problems around the world that we don’t have the resources to solve, but if we give what we have and trust God to bless it, he will be able to achieve far more than we can ever imagine.
God of grace, when I feel inadequate, give me the faith to trust you to do more than I can ever ask or imagine.
The Lord’s my shepherd (and I will trust)