what I lack, what I hold

I am so very like the disciples in Matthew 14. Many of us have heard the story eight thousand times. Jesus feeds the five thousand. He performs a miracle. But before He does, He says something to the disciples…He says: you give them something to eat (Matthew 14:16; ESV).

On Sunday, Brian said, “We can’t be fearful of the way we go to get to the broken people.”

I am afraid. I’m afraid of not being ready, of being unprepared; I’m afraid I’ll fail and fall, that I’ll be rejected, that I’m inadequate…I’m afraid of these things and probably more. I only see what I lack. I forget and am blind to what I actually hold…and that’s Jesus. Just like the disciples. They have Jesus, and they have five loaves and two fish…in their minds they have only five loaves and two fish. I have the Holy Spirit, and a teensy bit of experience, minimal knowledge, a very quiet voice, and I just don’t know what I’m doing… All I see is my lack; I can’t see that I hold everything I ever need.

I’m afraid I’m not ready; Jesus is ready. I’m afraid I don’t know enough; Jesus knows all. I’m afraid I’ll fail; if I fail or fall, it’s in pursuit of Jesus, and He will catch me. I’m afraid to be rejected; Jesus was rejected, and He won’t reject me. I’m afraid I’m inadequate; Jesus is adequate, I don’t need to be. He will fill in every gap that needs filling.

If I was prepared, fearless, adequate, successful, and accepted, I wouldn’t need Him.

Our lack means we have need. Need makes us desperate. Let us be desperate for Jesus, the One we do hold. He is not only the One whose life, whose love, and whose death has given us everything…but He is the One who is our everything.

Jesus wants us to see what we have — what He has given. He says to the disciples “you give them something to eat.” They have been with Him, seeing the things He does. And yet, they don’t see Him with them.

Do they not trust He is who He says He is? Do they not know Him really? Or are they merely acknowledging their lack and their need for Him?

We see what He does, what He has done. We see what He promises He will do…and yet, we don’t see Him with us. Do we not trust He is who He says He is? Do we not really know Him? Sometimes I am acknowledging my need for Him, but more often, I’m fighting fear because I don’t trust He is everything I need.

Like the disciples, we look down at our empty hands, and our meager supply baskets, and we say: We only have this much. It is not enough. Jesus can turn nothing into something. He can turn only five loaves and two fish into enough for five thousand. What makes us think He won’t do the same in our lives?

He still used the disciples, even though they couldn’t see. He still used their unbelief, just like He uses ours. He still uses us to pass on what He has given us. It’s a privilege not to be enough, not to have enough. We need Him; we want Him. It gives us an opportunity to draw nearer to our Lord…our Savior. And He won’t let us be depleted. He will always give us more than enough, because He is more than enough.

“Jesus said, ‘They need not go away, you give them something to eat.’ They said to him, ‘We have only five loaves here and two fish.’ And he said, ‘Bring them here to me.’ Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children” (Matthew 14:16-21; ESV).

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