You want us to do what?
But they’re like 5,000 people here!
And we’re in the middle of nowhere…
And none of us have jobs, because we left them to follow You, in case You forgot.
And your point is?
It would take a year’s salary to feed all these people, where do You expect us to get that kind of money?
Then what do you have? Anything?
We don’t have anything.
Are you sure? Look around you.
It looks like this kid over here has five loaves of bread and a pair of fish, but that’s only enough for a few children, not 5,000 grown men!
That’ll be more than enough.
Then Jesus told the crowd to sit in groups so the disciples could pass out dinner. Jesus took the five loaves and two fish and said a blessing over them. Then he broke the bread and gave the meal to the disciples to set before the people. Everyone ate and was satisfied, and there were some leftovers, twelve baskets full of bread and fish.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve faced some pretty challenging circumstances in my life. There have been many times when my back was against the wall, when I ran out of resources, when I didn’t know where my help would come from. Like the disciples, I looked at what I had and it didn’t look like much.
You’ve probably looked at yourself in the mirror and thought, That doesn’t look like much. You’ve probably looked at your talents or opportunities and said, That doesn’t look like much. You’ve probably looked at the enormous task before you and what you had to work with and sighed, That doesn’t look like much.
Do you know the lesson God loves to teach us, over and over again? It’s the same lesson we’ve been encountering throughout Mark’s gospel in every chapter so far, when you finally realize you’re not enough, that’s when you become more than enough.
By contrast, the Pharisees and other religious leaders thought they were more than enough to begin with, so Jesus had to show them they were not. Jesus constantly cried out against the religious leaders who trusted in themselves and believed they were better than others and thought they deserved God’s favor.
But then there were others, the demon-possessed, the prostitutes, the tax-collectors, the sick, the sinful, who looked at themselves and realized they were not enough. They could never earn God’s favor, they would never be like the Pharisees. They were broken, unacceptable, and full of failure. They were poor in spirit and knew they fell short of the glory of God. In a word, they realized they were sick.
They felt like the spiritual equivalent of a couple of dried fish and five loaves of crusty, moldy bread.
As this passage of Scripture teaches us, God loves to work with nothing. After all, God created the world out of nothing, so he has done it before!
When you finally realize you’re not enough, that’s when you become more than enough. God wants us to realize salvation is impossible for us, but possible for him. So he’ll put us in impossible situations and pin us down by our limitations, just to get us to trust in him.
Think about it this way, God is constantly looking for a window to come into your life, and whatever you lack IS that window. Our limitations are a portal through which God enters our circumstances.
So embrace them!
Embrace your weaknesses and limitations, do not try to hide them or pretend they are not there. What does it look like to embrace your limitations? Give yourself to Jesus, because he wants to do four things with you. As Henri Nouwen pointed out in his book Life of the Beloved, Jesus takes the bread, blesses the bread, breaks the bread, and then gives the bread (Mark 6:41).
Take, bless, break, give.
God takes you to himself, blesses you in Christ, breaks you in life’s circumstances, and then gives you out to the world to fulfill your mission. We are simply five loaves of bread and a couple of fish, but we are more than enough in the hands of Jesus.
- What are your limitations right now? What obstacles are you facing? Be honest, share from the heart, no matter how scary it might be to admit.
- This passage teaches us that God can use limited resources and have leftovers! What are the limited resources you can place in Jesus’s hands today? Most of us wait until we have more to offer, but God wants only what we have to offer today.
- How have you been taken by God? How has God blessed you? How have you been broken? How have you been given to the world? If you don’t know yet, then start at the beginning and ask God to take you for himself. Make this your prayer.