Weather report from heaven: Sunny and bright with an abundance of light, and lots of singing and rejoicing.
Scripture– “Bring them here to me,” he said. And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.”- Matthew 14:18-21
Insight: As we begin Lent, and focus on a 6 week journey of drawing near to God in repentance, fasting and abstinence, let us not miss the bigger opportunity right in front of us. While holiness by subtraction is good, and we do draw nearer to God by abstaining from anything that can hinder our proximity to God, holiness by multiplication is much better. What do I mean? I can cut something out, and in fact, I will do a fast on all social media for the next 6 weeks, as a way to eliminate distractions. But the more powerful thing is to add something in for the Kingdom of God. This is known as holiness by multiplication, and it is the way that math works in the Kingdom of God. For example, give someone a fish, and feed them for a day; teach someone to fish, and feed them for a lifetime. Are you aware of the awesome multiplicative power Jesus has to change our circumstances and those around us? In fact, the entire Kingdom of God is run on Holiness by multiplication. Many times we view our faith as Holiness by subtraction, and there is nothing wrong with eliminating destructive behaviors that hinder us from reaching our full potential or keep us in bondage to a particular sin. However, God’s Kingdom Math really is built around multiplication. When we take a step of faith, Jesus multiplies it with His power to bring His desired results. He is just waiting for us to take a leap of faith, or even a small step of faith, so He can enter into our circumstances and touch it and multiply its effects. This would be a great focus for Lent.
Our destiny is always one courageous decision away! The key is we have to take the first step, and then we have to invite Jesus in to touch it, through our prayers and requests. Prayer is what turns on His multiplier effects. Have we invited Him into our circumstances? If not, we are unintentionally muting His power to multiply. One of the things that I think stops me, and maybe you, from taking a first step is we live in a world where people love instant gratification. They want the result even before the effort. We dislike small beginnings, but God tells us to love small beginnings. They begin in our heart, with a yearning to make a difference. To make the world better, whether with our time, talent or treasure, all require us to “begin.” The Bible uses the metaphor of planting a seed, even a seed as small as a Mustard Seed, and then watching what God can do with it. Mark 4:30-32 says it this way, “Again he said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.” Have you planted any seeds of faith recently? It is not about the rewards we reap day to day, but rather about the seeds we plant that can grow into an abundant harvest with a little nurturing and God’s power being invited in.
The story above from Matthew 14:18-21 makes no sense apart from the fact that Jesus is not limited by what we feel is possible. He operates in a higher plane. He can multiply two fish and five loaves of bread to not only feed five thousand people, but to have plenty left over for snacks later on! What is required as a prerequisite? Our belief? Not necessarily. His Disciples weren’t believing He could feed the five thousand with what they had. They were busy doubting right up until the time they decided to just do what Jesus requested. They simply brought to Him what they did have to offer. They took a step, a small beginning, by bringing what they did have. That is the key! Bring what you have and He will meet you where you’re at.
What do you have to offer? Whatever it is, He can use it. It is not too small, and it is not insignificant if it started in your heart as a way to honor God. I have seen this at work many times in my life. He has taken my little, feeble efforts and small pebbles of faith in things like my writing and touched them to my amazement because I brought something. Bring anything you have and don’t judge it. I took a first step of commitment and obedience to write out of a desire in my heart to honor Him, who is worthy of all my praise. He has helped me with addictions when I admitted I was too weak to deal with it on my own. He has helped me with my fears, when I was aware of how incapable I was of dealing with them on my own and asked for His help. He has helped me with anger, with forgiveness, with letting go of bitterness, all by His Spirit alive in me. He has helped me with so many things. I simply had to take the first step. He did all the rest. Don’t denounce or give up on small beginnings. God never does.
Prayer: Father God, thank you that your Kingdom is one of Multiplication. You take our small beginnings and sometimes seemingly feeble offerings, and You turn them into significant harvests in your Kingdom and for your purposes. 5 loaves and 2 fish can feed 5,000 in Your Kingdom because you operate outside of our ability to understand. Our job is to just come, and to bring whatever we have to offer, out of a heart that is grateful for all You have done for us. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen!
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