Sunday, July 9, 2017

Too Much

And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

I have been thinking about a conversation my Mom and I would have when I was a teenager while driving by huge houses near the mall.  I would make a comment about such a pretty house and how l liked such their long driveway and rolling yard. My mom would make a comment such as "Such a big house would take a lot of work to clean" or she would say, "Imagine how hard it would be to mow that yard."  One benefit of these conversations was that I learned not to want what other people had because I didn't want their responsibilities. As a teenager, cleaning my room was a huge task, I couldn't imagine being responsible for a mansion. This perspective helped me be content with our much smaller house and big enough yard.  

However, I have realized applying this same logic to spiritual things has limited my view of God's ability to provide. I was afraid of too much. You see if God provides the big house with the big yard, He will also provide the ability to clean it or the resources to have someone do the yard maintenance because He has unlimited resources. If He allows you to have a huge family, when you ask Him for help, He will provide the wisdom, strength and endurance you need because He is the perfect Father. If He calls you to a position of influence, He will enable you because . He is the Lord and Ruler of all. Nothing is too hard for Him.  

Focusing on our resources and ability limits what God wants to bless us and bless others.  A big part of growing in our relationship with God involves being obedient by getting in situations that are over our head and beyond our ability so that we ask Him to provide.   

When faced with a hungry crowd of 5,000 people, Jesus told his disciples, "You feed them."  Jesus knew they didn't have the resources. In fact, after scrounging among themselves, they only had five loaves of bread and two fish. He challenged them to feed the people because He wanted to reveal his ability and resources to them- not because He expected them to provide the food. Jesus then blessed the food.  This blessing asked God to make it greater than what was there, just as Isaac made prophetic blessings for his sons and Jacob blessed  Joseph's sons. Asking for God's blessing on our day, our resources, our words, our work and our families unleashes God's power to take what we have and make it greater than what we could imagine.  The story of feeding the five thousand is found in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Interestingly, a couple of verses after this miracle in Mark 6 is the amazing story of Jesus walking on water. "But when they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost, and cried out,for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid. And he got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded, for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.The Gospel writers wanted to make sure we knew and understood the importance of this story. God's ability is not limited by our resources, faith, or understanding.  

We can't walk on water of our own strength, we can't feed five thousand with a couple of fish and five loaves of bread, we can't heal people who are chronically ill. We can't even introduce them to Jesus without the power of the Holy Spirit.   

Growing in our faith means we will be challenged by Jesus to "Feed them."  I often respond like the disciples and focus on my resources rather than obediently using what God has given to me and trusting it will be enough.  In the end, God did use the disciples to feed the 5000.  God provided the food and they simply handed it out- we are called to be the hands and feet of Christ. 

For many of my friends, sharing the good news of Jesus with others seems impossible. They wonder if they will have the right words and are afraid that they might do it wrong. Ask Him to help you, He knows their hearts and hurts.  He will give you the words. He is the Word.

I understand feeling inadequate. When I felt called to write my Hezekiah study, I truly felt like I only had enough insight to write a blog.  Maybe a couple of hundred words but once I finished that I felt God say "Write more." So I did. Before I knew it, with God's help, I had a nine chapter Bible Study completed.  God supplied the time, the words and the wisdom. As Paul wrote in  Philippians 4:19, "And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus."

What has God called you to do that you don't have the resources for?  What is holding you back?

I love to hear stories of God's provision, in the comments share a story of how God provided when you trusted God to bless your limited resources and stepped out in faith.

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