Jesus and the disciples found themselves depleted and famished after non-stop ministry, and ever the Good Shepherd, Jesus invited his friends to come away with him by themselves to a quiet place where they could rest. Together they boarded a boat, destination relaxation within sight. But the crowd was famished for another taste of the divine; they pressed in, ran ahead, beating Jesus and his disciples to the shore where they would dock.
Our God, oh He is full of compassion, and our Jesus, the embodiment of the fullness of God, saw the crowd, these sherpherdless sheep of a chosen people, and begin teaching. Hanging on the words and the ways of this healer-man from Nazareth, the crowds pressed in until the sun hung low in the sky. The disciples suggested Jesus send the crowd away; hours in heat and no nourishment cause even the strongest to grow faint. Jesus told them (I LOVE this part), "You give them something to eat." One estimated it would take half a year's wages to buy enough bread for all to have a share. "How many loaves do you have?" Jesus asked them. Or as Andy paraphrased, "What's in your hand?"
The disciples stood before a seemingly impossible need with no where near the resources to touch the hunger of the thousands in the crowd. Often you and I stand before a world of brokenness, and the sheer volume of need can become utterly paralyzing. Millions of orphans, billions starving, 7000 contracting HIV today, the lonely, the sick, the forgotten, the imprisoned. Where. Do. I. begin?
One really cannot know the way God will bless our humble contribution offered in love.
Shortly after this sermon, Aron submitted a video he had made telling the story of our church's Seed Planter Street Ministry into a contest on Do Something World. He came home that night telling me that he didn't expect to win. Shot with a humble little Flip camera, produced on the barest of video editing equipment, his 5 loaves and two fishes didn't stand a chance against the professional quality videos he'd seen already submitted.
But God took notice of a man named Guy Alexander and his warrior ways in the gang ridden streets of Mount Clemens. And God, in his miracle making ways, saw fit to allocate the first prize award of $5000.00 to the Seed Planter's Street Ministry. Do you know how many Bibles will be distributed, how many bellies will be fed with these baskets full and overflowing?
Jesus took the measly lunch of a small boy and fed a multitude.
And he took a humble video of a small ministry serving the ex-cons and the gang bangers of a broken city and is providing a way to feed, both physically and spiritually, a people so very hungry for the Bread of Life.
To Our Great God Be the Glory!
As we each look to the needs in our families, communities, and sphere's of influence, I suppose the question begs to be answered, "What's in your hand?" and "What are you going to do with it?"
Only God knows what He could do with your humble little lunch.