Something that had helped me feel greater joy in life is feeling gratitude for God’s gifts in my life. When I take time to recognize all the ways he has blessed me, I feel greater gratitude, which leads to greater hope, peace, confidence, and joy. All to often we are so distracted by our problems we don’t see the good in our lives. We can become blind to God’s gifts, like a fish unaware of the water sustaining his life.
Recently I was pondering the account of Jesus Christ feeding 5,000 with 5 loaves of bread. Here are the thoughts I jotted down at the time.
LESSONS FROM THE LOAVES
my ponderings on this…
When Jesus Christ fed 5,000 with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fishes, that was extraordinary.
14 And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.
15 And when it was evening, his disciples came to him, saying, This is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals.
16 But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat.
17 And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes.
18 He said, Bring them hither to me.
19 And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.
20 And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full.
21 And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children.
There are many things we can learn from this account.
1. Jesus Christ could organize intelligence and matter to become fish, or bread, very easily. There was not enough fish and bread present, and he didn’t wave a magic wand, but he was able to organize elements that were present into bread and fish very rapidly.
2. Before he perform this miracle, he prayed to his Father and gave thanks. Gratitude is likely a key component to commanding the elements. I’m sure love is also.
3. It shows that there are infinite possibilities. No one else there was considering this as an option to feed the multitudes. But Jesus Christ was aware of the possibilities. He saw options that the others didn’t see. He knew of a solution that no one else was even considering, and it was the best and simplest solution of all. Others were wanting to send the people away to buy their own food, which was a reasonable solution to the logical mind. If Jesus Christ had tried to bake that much bread it would have been a huge task. He thought differently than others. It shows that God can provide effective, simple solutions if only we will trust him and are open to infinite possibilities.
4. It shows that God wants to give us gifts. The people had not earned this bread, it was given to them freely without any requirements. No on earned it, no one paid for it. No one could take the credit for it either, no one could take ownership of this miracle to elevate their own position. We can’t use the gifts of God to show that we are better than others. No one felt superior because they got more, or they got the best piece of bread, or the First Class Bread, the Marriott-Mercedes class bread. All received sufficient for their needs. Jesus shared this gift with them because he had compassion for them, not because they had finally qualified for it.
God forgive me for the times I thought the bread you gave me meant that I was better than others, and forgive me for the times I have thought the bread you gave me made me inferior to others. I thought someone else’s Brad was better than mine, and that made me less then. I am guilty of both of those.
5. The disciples who helped distribute the bread must have also had a test of their faith. As I think of this situation, I can see me being one of the disciples that he asks to serve bread to the others. I can see him handing me a basket with a little bit of bread and fish in it, and saying, “Take this and go feed those 500 over there.” I would have looked in the basket, hesitated, and said, “Lord, you seem to have overlooked something here. I don’t have enough to do what you ask. This is impossible. This is hardly enough for one, how can you expect me to feed 500? Are you trying to make a fool of me? This is crazy!” And maybe I would have walked away offended, never to see the miracle that Christ had in mind. That response would have been logical. Upfront Christ did not give the disciples enough bread and fish to do what he asked them to do. I wonder what they thought as he asked them to do this? There is no report of anyone questioning Jesus, but in that situation I’m afraid I might have, because I know I have in the circumstances of my life. More than once I have felt like the Lord didn’t understand my circumstances. I have felt that God was asking me to do something without giving me what I needed to do it. I couldn’t see “how” it could happen, so I hesitated, waiting for the “how” to show up before I stepped forward. If the disciples had waited for there to be enough bread before they started serving the bread, there never would have been enough bread. Christ didn’t create a huge stock-pile of bread and fishes so all could see there was enough. Apparently it manifested as they served it. Amazing! And I honor those disciples for stepping forward to feed the multitude with what looked like a small portion of bread and fish.
6. As we trust God and are obedient, we can have confidence that he will provide sufficient for our needs, and provide what is needed for us do what he asks of us, even if it comes differently than we thought it would. Sometimes we want the Lord’s blessings to come at the time we want it to, in the way we want it to, in the amount that we think is needed. But we can’t see what he sees, we don’t know what we don’t know, so we have to trust that he has compassion for us, and will give us what is best for us. I must not get impatient and walk off when God’s miracle is perhaps moments away.
7. God can provide in abundance. He provided enough for them all to be filled, plus 12 baskets more.
8. Jesus Christ was not stressed about the situation. He didn’t follow the disciples around to make sure they gave out the right amount of bread. He didn’t get after anyone for taking too much. He wasn’t worried about running out of bread before everyone was served. He knew there would be sufficient, there was NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT. Fear not, you are going to be OK!