Friday, July 2, 2010

Words of Encouragement

Study notes from  the message: What are you doing with the Crumbs?

When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick. As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, "This is a remote place, and it's already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food." Jesus replied, "They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat." "We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish," they answered. "Bring them here to me," he said. And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children. ~ Matthew 14:13-21

This is a message that I preached twice, yet I cannot let it go (or better yet, it will not let me go). In this scripture we see something about the two main characters, Jesus and the disciples.   What does this teach us about Jesus? What does it show about the disciples?

Jesus was moved with compassion. Whenever you read in scripture that Jesus had compassion on someone, he did something. Jesus' compassion is his love for people and it causes him to see the need and respond.

Jesus performs miracles. When Jesus took the fish and bread he did the miraculous. Yet for God this is simply him being himself. God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit dwell or take up resident in the miraculous. This is simply God doing what he does, being himself. It is miraculous to us because it is impossible by any other means, than God.

Jesus brings results. When Jesus performed the miracle, the needs of the people was filled. The scripture says they all ate, were filled and satisfied. And there were leftovers!
Now what does this scripture show us about the disciples?
Disciples were moved by situations and circumstances. The disciples saw the crowds. They saw the remote place they were at (a remote place is a place without provisions and supplies, it has a lack and is seemingly too far away from what is needed). They wanted Jesus to send the people away to take care of their needs, yet Jesus wants them to do it.
Disciples did not see the potential. When Jesus told them to feed the people they began with the "only" statement. The disciples saw the fish and bread in their hands and they did not see what Jesus could do with it. It was too small to fill such a big need.
Disciples did not see their part in the results. The disciples because of their lack of vision did not see the results that Jesus saw, therefore they did not see that the little they had would result in the final outcome.
What's the point? Jesus because he sees the needs does what seemingly to us is impossible and brings about a result. In this instant, God saw the need of the people to be fed, therefore he took the little from the hands of the disciples and performed a miracle. He then gave it back to the disciples so that they could do their part and feed the people. And all were filled and satisfied. Yet the miracle of miracles is there were leftovers. How could what was so small in a place that should have not provided provisions, result in needs being meet and more to spare?
What does that mean? When God performs a miracle in your life, there are some "crumbs" leftover. It is in those out of the way places in our lives that God takes the little we have and performs a miracle.  What are we suppose to do with the crumbs? The disciples collected 12 baskets, a basket for each disciple to carry or be responsible for. Each disciple of Christ has a basket of "crumbs" that many would eat from. In chapter 15 there is a women that speaks to individuals willing to take even the crumbs of what Jesus has to offer.
Are you offering to others the crumbs so that they will be blessed? Sometimes we look at the little and think it is not important but this message speaks to how God can use even the littlest of things to glorify himself.
Prayer: Lord help us to stop looking for the big thing, the dynamic thing to happen in our lives and because of it we are missing the miracles you are doing with the little that we have. Help us Lord to feed people from the baskets of "crumbs" that are the leftover from the blessings in our lives. You have do one miracle after another and because of it we have some leftovers. Help us to stop holding onto them, but to feed those in need so that they too will be feed, filled and satisfied. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.