on feeding 5,000 & the language of abundancefeatured

How is your study of John going? I’ve talked to some of you who are going strong, some who have dropped out, and others who are somewhere in between. Please be encouraged by at least two things:

  1. Any time you invest in reading and studying the Scriptures is fruitful, whether it’s studying John or another book or following a Bible reading plan. It is worth the effort to persevere! Even if it feels like you are getting nothing out of it, trust the Lord to use His Word to accomplish what He intends.
  2. God doesn’t love you more or less based upon how far you are in your bible study! Your worth and acceptance and identity are fixed in the person and work of Jesus Christ. And from His fullness we have all received grace upon grace. Let that breathe freedom over you: freedom to fail, freedom to start again, freedom to slow down, freedom to ask for help.

I hope you will join us at our first meet-up to discuss how your study is going, what you’ve been learning, where you’re encountering challenges, etc.

This past week, these are the words that are encouraging me from John:

“as much as they wanted” (6:11)
“when they had eaten their fill” (6:12)
“so they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets” (6:13)

I was so moved by this language of abundance. It stands in stark contrast to our default mindset in our “never-enough” culture. I shared these words from social justice activist Lynne Twist at our first workshop. She calls this the “scarcity” belief, which she also labels as, “the great lie.” She writes:

“For me, and for many of us, our first waking thought of the day is ‘I didn’t get enough sleep.’ The next one is ‘I don’t have enough time.’ Whether it is true or not, that thought of not enough occurs to us automatically before we even think to question or examine it. We spend most of the hours and the days of our lives hearing, explaining, complaining, or worrying about what we don’t have enough of…Before we even sit up in bed, before our feet touch the floor, we’re already inadequate, already behind, already losing, already lacking something. And by the time we go to bed at night, our minds are racing with a litany of what we didn’t get, or didn’t get done, that day. We go to sleep burdened by those thoughts and wake up to that reverie of lack…This internal condition of scarcity, this mind-set of scarcity, lives at the very heart of our jealousies, our greed, our prejudice, and our arguments with life.”

This is how we think. Like Philip and Andrew, we look at what little we have and declare that it will never be enough. But here we see that Jesus does not meet their need just enough to tide them over. No, He gives them as much as they wanted. They ate their fill, and there were leftovers. Just like when He turned water to wine: He could’ve gotten by with the cheap stuff, but instead the master of the feast praised the bridegroom for saving the best wine until the end (John 2:10).

Jesus is enough. His provision is abundant. His grace is sufficient. In our weakness, His strength is made perfect (2 Cor. 12:9).

And if He really is enough, I can stop living out of my scarcity mindset. I can stare my “not-enoughness” in the face and trust that the God who feeds 5,000 people from a little boy’s lunch can take what little I have and make it enough for what He has called me to. I can believe that the one who waters will herself be watered (Prov. 11:25)–that as I lay down my life, it is Christ who upholds me, who fills me, who equips me for the good works appointed for me, sustaining every step as I walk in them (Eph. 2:10).

This is one of my favorite articles about motherhood. Here, the author answers the question, “Is God “God Enough”?” I hope it is a challenge and encouragement to you as it was to me:

Is God “God Enough”?

Five loaves and two fish feed thousands. A shepherd boy takes out a giant. A king who commits adultery and murder is called “a man after God’s own heart.” A pagan prostitute bears the bloodlines of Jesus. A man dead and buried for days inhales fresh life. An outcast, stained with a continual flow of blood, is healed with the touch of a tunic. The wind and waves are stilled. The sting of death is vanquished, the curse removed forever.

God is, always has been, and always will be, God enough. The battle is over whether or not I will believe it, whether or not I will delight in God’s enough-ness.

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