Just this morning during the time our housemates habitually meet to pray, I was sharing with Jane Takahashi that I think God is teaching me that I am finite. There are a lot of large events coming up for our church within the next three weeks and I must confess that I’ve been stressed over them.
On the 4th of July my church, REACH Philadelphia, is hosting our second block party on the street in front of my house. The very next day our church is launching into the “wilderness” of New Jersey’s Belleplain State Park for our annual campout. One week after that our Vacation Bible School program starts. I’ve felt the responsibility primarily falling on me and it’s been heavy. Anxiety has sapped my appetite. I’ve been moody and a high percentage of the breaths I take have been sighs. I’ve been putting long days in to focus on these work priorities and have neglected to take responsibility for my daughter so Deanne could experience more moments of sanity. We had a very important conversation about that last night. God is teaching me and I’m all ears at this humble point.
I promised that I would watch Eden until 8 AM this morning and that I would watch her again from 3 - 5 PM this afternoon. I left the house to have worship at the quiet church building in Chestnut Hill before starting my office work. This is the passage I read for today.
...Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward [H]im, [H]e said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” He asked this only to test him, for [H]e already had in mind what [H]e was going to do.
Philip answered [H]im, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”
Another of [H]is disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”
Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.
When they had all had enough to eat, [H]e said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten. John 6:5b-13 NIV
Here’s the part that grabbed me, Jesus ONLY asked Philip where they would get the food to test him. What kind of test is that? I think Philip’s realization that purchasing food for all those people was outside the realm of their human possibilities at that moment was an important one. I wish Philip hadn’t stopped there. I wish he had offered some morsel of faith to Jesus as Andrew did.
Though it was illogical, Andrew brought a boy and his lunch to Jesus, not because he thought the child’s meal would be enough food to feed a the massive crowd, but I believe he had a small ray of hope that Jesus could do the inconceivable. He brought what was available to Jesus and Jesus rocked the sides off their small boxes of logic.
So much of what rides on me and the limited time and ability I have to get the deeds done this week makes no sense to me. It’s a test I can’t pass on my own. But’s actually exciting to imagine what God ALREADY has in mind for my challenges while looking at Jesus lesson plan for His pupils in this story. They saw that the problem was WAY BEYOND THEM. Jesus showed that it was NOT A PROBLEM for Him. He was much more than enough. There were twelve baskets of leftovers signifying that Jesus is not only enough for the 5,000 men and their families present that day, He’s also enough for all twelve tribes of Israel. He’s enough for all of us!
May I acknowledge my finitude moment by moment while always praising God expectantly for His omnipotent care for me. One with Jesus, there is not test I can’t ace. Bring on the day! Glory to God!!!