Matthew 14 tells of the miracle of the loaves, where Jesus multiplied 5 loaves to feed five thousand --- or did He? Yes, the miracle absolutely occurred, but note this posting’s title above. First Jesus tells His apostles to feed them themselves, and they said in no way did they have enough food for the job --- but they did. Those apostles took those loaves and handed them out, and there was more than enough. They did it!
But… they didn’t do it alone. Jesus first prayed over the loaves; He blessed and broke them and then handed them to His disciples. The lesson here was that just as the Son of Man came to serve and not count the cost, so must His followers, and they must have faith.
How often do we “know” that we can’t do something, something that really should be done or perhaps someone who should be helped? “It’ll cost too much,” or “it will take too much time”, or “we don’t know the answer” --- and so we never start. Note that even Jesus started a large task by praying. I think if we did that more often when we “know” something good can’t be done by us, we might be surprised by the results of OUR efforts. If we seek to do as Jesus did, we will not be alone. He will provide a good share of the money or time or answers --- and the results will be better than we could have planned alone.
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I wrote the above in the chapel, as I read my Gospel reading for the evening. Coming home is when I saw it in a bit more expansive light. Oh, certainly I often did what I said above, when I “knew” I couldn’t do something, and so never started. But, I also recalled those occasions when I said “I know how to fix that” and my fix only made the problem worse, or made someone mad. Whether I did or didn’t do something, I’ve often failed.
But then I recalled a few more recent occasions. Instead of seeing a big problem for me to tackle, the events started with a small thing. It was kind of like I noticed that I needed to sew a button on my shirt, and when I went to do that, I noticed others were loose and needed sewing, and then I noticed that the shirt had some bad stains and wasn’t worth the effort, and when I went to the closet to get another shirt, I noticed most of them were stained or needed buttons. What started out as a 10-minute chore would take weeks, but needed to be done. I recalled, as I drove home from the chapel tonight, those occasions where I was asked to do a little good --- “Can you give this woman a ride home” --- and it was many months later, with prayers, and the help of many friends, that the real problem was identified and solved. And the woman’s life was changed for the better. But if I had known from the beginning what needed to be done, I very likely might never have started. God knows me and my pride, and so He started asking me to do the little thing.
What I’m saying is that God realized that I was prone to “know” what needed to be done, without ever asking His help. I saw five loaves and said “I can’t do that.” But God never asked me to feed five thousand, He just said “can you give a little food for that guy,” and I said yes. And then with me, God gradually showed me the bigger problem, and solutions that He arranged. I didn’t have to do it alone, as I assumed.
And in those instances which I recalled tonight, the results were way better than anything I could have planned alone. It was a pleasant ride home, as I recalled the good that WE did.