Message from Our Pastor
Let’s be a church that believes in leftovers!
Don’t you love it? What better way to demonstrate our faith in the abundant grace and overflowing goodness of our Lord and God than to believe there is always enough to go around and then some.
Surely you have heard of the Lord Jesus’ miracle of feeding the crowd of 5000 with five barley loaves and two fish. That must have been one incredible day! I know exactly where it took place there on the hill beside the sea of Galilee. They say that even today if you are walking in that area and are hungry you will find pieces of bread along the path. I suspect that that is a myth that has grown out of the miracle, but who knows, anything is possible with God.
And that is really why I write to you today. I know that you are so familiar with that phrase, “anything is possible with God,” that you don’t even really hear it anymore, let alone believe it. But, “Let’s be a church that believes in leftovers.” Now I bet that has you thinking.
You see, God has the power to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine. I know you know this, with your head. You may even believe it, with your mind. But do you believe it with your heart? Do you walk and talk and live, as if you believe it to be true?
I get it. It is not easy trusting God. In the feeding of the 5000, Philip had no faith at all. ‘Six months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.’
Andrew had come to trust Jesus, but 5000 people, 5 loaves of bread and two fish was just a bit too much to believe possible: “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, BUT, but what are they among so many people.” Only Jesus knew what was really possible. When he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated, as much as they wanted.
When they were satisfied, they gathered up the leftovers, that nothing might be lost. Can you imagine starting with 5 loaves and gathering up 12 baskets after they all ate their fill. And isn’t that what I just said: “God has the power to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine.”
How often have we not tried because like Andrew we couldn’t imagine large enough, or even worse, like Philip, we didn’t risk trying to imagine at all?
It is so sad that we have made God so small. The one God who created all and is all. This God we put in a box a small box, a smaller-than-a-breadbox box.
Why, because his power and his love is so great that we are afraid. We’re afraid not only that we might be called upon to feed 5000, but that there might be leftovers. What can you possibly do with 12 baskets of leftover bread?
Feed more people of course! Of course, that would mean more work, more people, and probably, more leftovers.
“No, no, no, a small breadbox is fine, thank you, God, for our daily bread. That is enough, thank you very much.”
Oh, I understand wanting to limit God to a manageable-sized breadbox, but God has a thing about confined spaces.
Did you ever hear the story about the time they shut Jesus up in the tomb? They crucified him, laid him inside a rock tomb, and rolled.a stone across the entrance. Do you know that story? Three days and Jesus was out of there. You just can’t confine God. Not to a tomb, not to a breadbox. Not to your head, not even to your imagination. That is the greatness of God’s power.
That is also the greatness of God’s love for you. I pray, as did my brother Paul, that you may have the understanding to comprehend what is the breadth and length and height and depth of God’s love for you. And, not just with your head, not just with words, but understand with the fullness of your heart and the fullness of your life. For if the members of the church of Christ are filled with the fullness of God, the power at work in us will undoubtedly be able to accomplish more than we can ask or imagine. And you know what that means, right?
There are sure to be leftovers!
For all that we do (big or small), for all that we have (all of which is gift), for all that we are (created in God’s image), to God be the glory, in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen
Now, who is going to take me up on that leftover challenge?