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Thursday, June 2, 2016

Food and Grace

Matthew 14:15-17, "As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, 'This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.'  Jesus replied, 'They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.'  'We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,' they answered" (NIV).

I have no idea how many times I have read this passage over the course of my life.  Dozens?  Hundreds?  I had it memorized as a teenager.  I have always been a little critical of the disciples who witness this miracle of the feeding of the five thousand... and then can't figure out how Jesus will feed four thousand on another day.

And yet, I am so like them...

Here, lately, life has been a pretty wild series of ups and downs, particularly in regard to launching new ministry.  And me?  Well, I'm over here talking to myself half the time (I'm pretty good company, just in case you wondered), vacillating between high levels of excitement and low levels of self esteem on most days.  Scratch the good company thing, but I am, at least, entertaining...

I'm a little irritated with myself, though.  I mean, really, how many times am I going to throw my hands up in the air and proclaim that five loaves and two fish are not enough?

II Corinthians 12:9 (well, part of it), "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness" (NIV).

I will never forget the first time I ever heard the word used for sufficient, in this passage, defined as "just enough".  I think it's pretty rare to remember specific parts of any sermon, and it just makes it all the more significant that this one was preached thirteen or fourteen years ago.  It was Dr. Jerry Porter at the Iowa District ordination service in either 2002 or 2003.  The irony is thick that I can remember the words but not the exact year...

I think it's possible that we all have a desire for more than enough grace.  I know I sure do.  I want it to fall from the sky like manna, and I want to store it up, and I don't want it to stink in the morning. 

But it doesn't work that way.

And so, today, I am starkly reminded that weakness is OK... and I have made a commitment to less fear... and I just need enough to get to tomorrow... at which point I will, again, need enough to get to tomorrow... and the tomorrow after that...


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