Feeding the 5000

The evening of convocation, I came home and went to read my Bible before bed. I said to God, “It sure would be cool if I just opened up my Bible and you randomly chose a passage that had something to do with graduating…” (like, showed me how the passage I read could have to do with something graduation related).

And of course, he did.

I ended up reading the Feeding of the 5000, and it was neat because usually this story is talked about to show that God provides, God can do miracles, God can turn a little into a lot, etc. Recently, I heard it used to demonstrate that we should take only what we need and then pass the rest on so that others can have some (as in, don’t hoard up money, etc., but take what you need and donate the rest so that other people can have food and shelter, etc).

This evening, though, God spun it a bit differently for me.

When the disciples had the food, they only had what looked like a very little bit.

Instead of getting overwhelmed by all the people that needed to be fed, they focused on the people right before them.

They didn’t hand the food out to all 5000+ at the same time. You hand out food one person at a time.

So, instead of getting overwhelmed with the Big Picture – “how in the world are we ever going to accomplish this?” – they put God in control (blessed the food), and then simply did what was before them to do.

There are times when I look at the Big Picture of what I believe I am called to do with my life, and I can get a bit overwhelmed by it. How in the world could someone like me – just a single person, and certainly someone without significant clout in the field right now – ever effect a change like I’d like to see?

However, God has equipped me for what I need right now.

And there are small things sitting in front of me that I can do right now.

And if I just focus on taking what God has given me and using it to accomplish what God puts before me, eventually the whole crowd will be full.

Another thing is that it was not just one disciple who fed each and ever person there. I’m sure Peter fed some, Judas fed others, and John still others yet.

As I picture the scene in my head, I can’t see any of them actually managing to keep tabs on the others while feeding the people. It must have been such a busy and crowded day! But as each man focused on feeding those in front of him, working from the front of the crowd to the back, eventually there would come a time when they would find no more hungry people in front of them, and they would look up and see each other standing there, extra food in hand, but no more left to feed.

And I can just imagine the scene as they slowly turn to look behind them and see a crowd of over 5000 people whose hunger had just been satisfied by only a few loaves of bread and fish. [Incidentally, this scene would look great in a movie if the camera started close up on one of the men’s eyes and then followed his gaze as he turned his head, and then widened up into a wide-screen panoramic shot of thousands of people on a hillside… with orchestral music swelling triumphantly in the background… *sigh* haha…]

The point is that at the end of a day focusing on doing what the Lord had told them to do in the situation directly before them, each man would come to a realization that the entire Big Picture had been accomplished. What a miracle.

Likewise, if I simply focus on taking what the Lord has equipped (and continues to equip) me with and doing what he puts before me to do, eventually there will come a day (maybe not on earth…) when I will reach the “back of the crowd”, and I will look up and see those who worked along side me, perhaps some I knew about and was able to work alongside for awhile, and likely others that I didn’t even know were out there working hard, with me though I didn’t even know it. And then, we will be able to turn around and see for the first time the Big Picture and how, through each of us focusing on using what we were given to do what was set before us, it is now complete.

Finally, it was not God’s will for anyone to go hungry that day. The Big Picture to be accomplished was exactly what needed to and would happen that day.

If one of the disciples had allowed himself to get overwhelmed and ended up just sitting down and calling it a day before the crowd was fed, the crowd would still have been fed somehow – only he would not have been a part of it.

Likewise, I, too, have the option of deciding that there is just too much work to be done and it will never really happen, so why not just sit down now and enjoy my own meal, that is, what God has given me? However, God’s purpose would still be achieved in the end – only I would be left out of it.

All in all, the point is that regardless of whether we are able to see what the Big Picture is or not, God has equipped us as we need to be equipped for what is right in front of us to do.

This means:

1) if you’re looking at a Big Picture and are getting overwhelmed for any reason, stop focusing on the big thing and find what is right in front of you – and do it.

2) if you’re looking at what is right in front of you and it doesn’t seem very big or important, do it anyway! Feeding one person at a time is not that big a deal, but it quickly becomes a big deal when you realize that at the end of the day, the total was 5000… And also, even if you never think what you did was a Big Deal, it obviously was to God, because he asked you to do it… which should be enough to make it a Big Deal to you…

3) if you’re looking at what is right in front of you and you don’t think you have what it takes to do it – just do it! The few loaves and fish were not nearly enough to feed the whole crowd, but they started out anyway. As they needed more, God gave them more – and they weren’t even aware of it. If you focus on doing what’s before you, God will make sure you have what it takes – even if you aren’t aware of your own growth! (Exciting, eh?)

Well, this is just one of the things I’ve had on my mind lately (…and people wonder why I’m quiet… haha). I’ve quite enjoyed thinking about this – it makes me get pretty excited… it’s hopeful! And I have very much enjoyed sharing it here with you…

I hope you have a super great day!

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