Thursday, January 16, 2014

given

     Late in the afternoon the Twelve came to him and said, “Send the crowd away so they can go to the surrounding villages and countryside and find food and lodging, because we are in a remote place here.”
     He replied, “You give them something to eat.”
They answered, “We have only five loaves of bread and two fish—unless we go and buy food for all this crowd.” (About five thousand men were there.)
     But he said to his disciples, “Have them sit down in groups of about fifty each.”  The disciples did so, and everyone sat down.  Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke them. Then he gave them to the disciples to distribute to the people.  They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. (Luke 9:12-17)



You give them something to eat.  It seems that a significant amount of doing ministry involves figuring out what you've got, even if it's feels like just five loaves of bread and two fish, and then figuring out how to give it and who to give it to.  You see, God gave you something wonderfully unique and specific, something that only you can give.  It may feel like five loves and two fish trying to feed a multitude, but in His hands it is more than enough to satisfy all, and still have some left over.  "You give them something to eat, because I gave you something very specific that only you can give.  First give it to me, and then I will give it back to you in abundance.  Then you will be able to give it to them, whoever your them may be.  And in the giving of it to them you will find that there is enough to feed you as well."  Incredible! 

There is one other small thing to notice however.  And it really is not small at all.  Once we are willing enough and courageous enough to give Jesus our little loaves and fish, he does something really amazing with it.  Amazing and frightening all at the same time.  He takes it, then he blesses it, then he breaks it, and then he gives it.  Now all of that sounds pretty great...except the breaking part.  Because, it seems, in Jesus' economy we can't be multiplied enough to be given, we can only be broken enough to be given.  It is in the breaking that the abundance seems to come.  It is in the breaking that the multiplying seems to occur.  As it will be for each of us. 

If we really want to have something of depth and substance to give, it will involve some sort of breaking.  The funny thing is that when we feel the most broken in our lives it is usually the time we feel least able to give, or the time when we feel like we have the least to offer.  But just the opposite is actually true.  It is when we are the most broken that we are actually most able to give something of substance and value to those we are trying to give ourselves to.  Because somehow, in the brokenness, it has stopped being about us and our ability to multiply ourselves, and has begun being about God and His ability to multiply our little loaves and little fish with His strong and tender hands.

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