John 6: 5-13 (NIV): When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, "Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?" He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do. Philip answered him, "Eight months' wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!" Another of his 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 the men sat down, about five thousand of them. 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, he 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.
God is more interested in our availability than our abilities. He can use what we have, but we must offer it to him. The little boy sacrificed his lunch on this occasion, and Jesus took it and multiplied it to feed thousands of people.
This story shows that God can use anyone for a mighty purpose. In this case, a child fed a mob by giving what he had. If God can use a child, he can use you and he can use me. He loves to use the least likely person for great things. You may think there is nothing you can do for the Kingdom, but this story proves that God can use you, no matter your circumstance. You simply must be willing to offer what you have.
This story also reminds us that God is a God of more than enough. Not only was this mob fed until everyone was full, but there were twelve baskets of bread left-over. Jesus didn't just provide a taste for everyone, or a small meal, he provided all they could eat, with plenty left-over. He offers an abundant life, not just an adequate one. When we belong to Christ, we don't just exist, we truly live.
Craig Harris is the pastor at Brushy Creek United Methodist Church in Brushy Creek and Mt. Vernon United Methodist Church in Pert. Sunday services are at 9:30 at Brushy Creek and 11 a.m. at Pert. See more of his columns at www.instantmessagelive.com.
- INSTANT MESSAGE: When God says no
COOKING WITH SIMON: Planting seeds for the future and the plate
My workload just got a lot easier and more interesting. Why? Because soon I won’t have to shop for produce and I get to start creating some fun new dishes that incorporate all of the wonderful vegetables and herbs that will be growing in my garden.
- EAST TEXAS ADVICE COLUMN: Breakfast blues
- INSTANT MESSAGE: Being joyful in trials
COOKING WITH SIMON: Mardi Gras time in Palestine
The good times were definitely rolling down Palestine Main Street last Saturday and the food sure was too. It was a great weekend with parades, floats, parties, Cajun recipes, zydeco music and plenty of Palestine area wine.
HISTORICALLY SPEAKING: Temple Opera House
I have to admit that the landmark building, which at one time dominated the corner of Ave. A and Oak street; is probably my favorite public building that has been built in Palestine, and that's saying a lot!
- LIFE BEHIND THE PINE CURTAIN: Treasure every moment you have
- INSTANT MESSAGE: Go for the gold as a Christian
COOKING WITH SIMON: Feeding the steak eaters and the vegetarians
Texans are known as meat eaters and enjoy they’re big juicy steaks. But sometimes it’s nice to eat a meal that is just vegetables and follow the new Meatless Monday trend. Chefs always need to have some good vegetarian dishes in they’re repertoire because vegetarians and vegans don’t want to just eat salads and pasta.
COOKING WITH SIMON: Don’t forget the Valentine’s Day flowers
Happy Valentine’s weekend! Well, at least for those of you who remembered it was Valentine’s and at the very least bought a card. Otherwise you may be spending the weekend in the doghouse.
- More Columns Headlines