One of the volunteers at the apartment complex remarked on what a great job she had done. Susan's humble response was "well, you all mentioned bringing whatever we would for our own kids birthday party, so that's what I did." This was a birthday party this young man will never forget thanks to her abundant generosity and disciples heart.
As I listen to our passage for this Sunday, Mark 6:34-44, the feeding of the five thousand, the response of the disciples to the crowds' need is relatable. The crowds continue to listen to Jesus' teaching, and as the hours draw on, the disciples recognize the crowds' hunger. The disciples tell Jesus to send the crowds away so they can go get something to eat. Jesus' response is: "YOU give them something to eat."
The disciples reaction is understandable, and pretty expected:
"Us, give them something to eat? Have you noticed how many people are here? Ummm, like 5 THOUSAND!"
"Seriously, we don't have that kind of money to feed that many people!"
"Honestly, you can't expect us to do that, we're exhausted, after we've worked so hard all day! We don't have enough time and energy, just send them away to someone else!"
Okay, so I took a little artistic license in the vernacular, but you get the idea. Because its what we do, isn't it?
Most of the time, when we are faced with a need in our community or our church, the first response is what we don't have: enough time, energy, money or knowledge. I've been in ministry 15 years. I've heard all kinds of responses/excuses of why people don't think they can serve a need that is presented. They don't know the Bible well enough, they are too busy, the church doesn't have enough money, etc...
It's a typical human response of fear. Not having enough, not being enough, not being willing enough.
Jesus response to their fear is this:
"Look around, what DO you have? Then start with that."
Instead of focusing on what isn't possible, focus on what is possible. Focus on what resources you do have, and of what you are capable. And then trust God with the process of abundance.
My guess is that when Susan first heard about volunteering to help with this birthday party, she didn't realize how extensive the amount of time and effort would be. But instead of focusing on why it couldn't be done, or what lack of resources existed, she recognized what she could do, trusting God in the process to provide the resources to support it all. She gave it an incredible amount of time and energy and effort, that as a working mom of 2 small kids, I know she didn't have a lot of in reserve. But the result of her efforts was complete abundance of love and grace for this young man, with leftovers to boot.
I love seeing discipleship that believes in the possibilities and trusts in hope of what God can do.
Because the reality is, that needs are everywhere. And Jesus is saying to us: "YOU give them something..."
Tomorrow night, we will gather to feed 200 persons in our Fellowship Hall who are Project Transformation families.
I bet there will be some leftovers.
Be a blessing,