Immeasurably More


Oh me of little faith. Shouldn’t the church be the force in the world that holds up the miraculous and impossible and unexpected to encourage people to have faith in something bigger than themselves? God is able to do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine…

10 When the apostles returned, they reported to Jesus what they had done. Then he took them with him and they withdrew by themselves to a town called Bethsaida, 11 but the crowds learned about it and followed him. He welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed healing.

12 Late in the afternoon the Twelve came to him and said, “Send the crowd away so they can go to the surrounding villages and countryside and find food and lodging, because we are in a remote place here.”

13 He replied, “You give them something to eat.”

They answered, “We have only five loaves of bread and two fish—unless we go and buy food for all this crowd.” 14 (About five thousand men were there.)

But he said to his disciples, “Have them sit down in groups of about fifty each.” 15 The disciples did so, and everyone sat down. 16 Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke them. Then he gave them to the disciples to distribute to the people. 17 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.
Luke 9:10-17

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Ephesians 3:20-21

The story of the feeding of the five thousand is an example of how God can do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine.  And that’s a big part of our problem.  We don’t ask and we don’t imagine…

In fact, we often want to send people away to local villages for food.  It’s not even on our minds that God can work a miracle, is it?  Oftentimes our responses to situations are based on the limitations we put on God’s power and ability and on the available solutions under the power and ability of the world around us.

Oh me of little faith.

One of the most surprising elements of this story is that Jesus’ disciples had just returned from a missionary journey in which Jesus empowered them to do miracles in helping people – they came back and reported all the things they had seen and had done under Jesus’ power while on the journey. And then they promptly forgot that God does miracles through his people.

Oh me of little faith.

Shouldn’t the church be the force in the world that holds up the miraculous and the impossible and the unexpected to encourage people to have faith in something bigger than themselves?  Shouldn’t our answers be focused on going to God for help and answers instead of going to the best options of the world?

I’m not saying don’t go to the doctor. When Timothy’s stomach was bothering him, Paul’s advice included Timothy taking a little wine to calm it (1Timothy 5:23). When there is a known remedy I think God expects us to use it.  God also desires for us to know his power and ability, and that’s where, perhaps, we don’t show enough faith.

When we think, as churches, about the problems of our communities which are standing before us, the feeding of the five thousand teaches us to go to the one who is more able than we can even imagine.  There are miraculous answers to our human issues and conditions.  And there are basketfuls of leftovers when God’s work is complete.

Oh me of little faith.

Amen.

Marc Kinna

 

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