I bet you’re familiar with the story. In fact, it’s the only one of Jesus’s miracles that is recounted in all four gospels. You may be like me and have heard it so many times that you skipped right over some of the characters in the story and didn’t give them much thought. It happens often when we get too familiar with something. We can miss something big because we make it seem small. That is what happened to me this week.
My husband has taught a Life Group (for some Sunday School is a more familiar term) for at least 20 years of our 30-year marriage. I’m probably biased, but I think he does a great job and I can vouch for the time he spends preparing each week. He takes his commitment seriously (as an Enneagram 1 he takes ALL commitments seriously!) and he comes to each class ready to share what God has put on his heart. This week’s lesson included the very familiar story of the miracle of Jesus feeding 5000. Ironically, sometimes it’s the most familiar lessons that are the hardest to deliver because everyone in the room has likely heard the story so many times.
If you aren’t familiar with it or haven’t read it in some time, I encourage you to read it in all four of the first books in the New Testament. Each writer, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, gives it a little different twist and it’s interesting to see the perspective of each. (Matthew 14, Mark 6, Luke 9, John 6).
This time, as I heard the story, rather than focusing on Jesus, Philip, the other disciples, or even the crowd…I began to think of the young boy with a basket containing two fish and five loaves of bread. I wondered if there was a moment when, in his youth, he wanted to say, “But that’s my lunch. I didn’t bring it for all these people…it’s mine! They should’ve come prepared.” Or perhaps he thought, “This isn’t enough food to amount to anything significant, there are so many people here!” Maybe Philip snatched the basket right out of his hand and gave him no opportunity to respond at all? Or maybe he was more than willing to share and in his childlike faith he knew Jesus was about to do something incredible?
It really made me think about what I have in my life that God can use to do the miraculous. Am I hanging on to something because I believe it’s “all mine” and I’m not willing to share it? Or perhaps because I don’t see the value in it and feel it’s just not that big of a deal I hold onto it tight fisted? Or am I willing in faith to open my hands and surrender whatever it is in my life that God wants to use for a greater good and to His glory?
Far too often, in false humility even, we shrink back and bury the very things that God wants to bring to the surface in us. Scripture tells us that as believers, we all have a part of the body to fulfill and without one of the parts, the body stays incomplete. (1 Corinthians 12:12). We also know that EVERYTHING belongs to God and He allows us to steward it. At any moment, he can snatch the very thing we think is “all mine” right out of our hands. But He is so loving that He rarely does that. Instead, He gives us every opportunity to surrender to Him and lets us be a part of His Kingdom plan.
So, what are you holding in your basket? Time? Talents? Finances? Your testimony? Your Spiritual gifts? I encourage you to pray about how God wants to use you and be open to opportunities as He presents them. He uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things…and none of us wants to miss out on that!
Stephani Cook is a life coach, speaker, writer, podcast host and the creator of On Purpose Coaching. Through On Purpose Coaching she helps others to improve relationships and to discover intentional abundant living. She does that through group and/or individual coaching, live event speaking or Enneagram workshops in private and corporate settings.
To connect with Stephani about the possibility of coaching or speaking to your group or organization, visit her website http://www.stephanicook.org