Fishes and Loaves and All That I Lack

I never get tired of the story of the fishes and the loaves. It is so full of truths, and every time it touches my heart. I revisited this story this week in preparing Sunday school material. And what jumped out at me was a reminder that I very much needed.

In case you’re not familiar with the story, Jesus is teaching a large crowd of people (around 20,000) in a remote place. Evidently it’s been a long day of teaching, and the people are getting hungry. The disciples want to send them on their way so that they can get to the neighboring towns and buy something to eat. But Jesus says, “You give them something to eat.”

Of course all the disciples can see is their lack: “This would take more than half a year’s wages!” they exclaim. We just don’t have enough.

Jesus simply tells them to go see what they have and report back with it to him. He then miraculously turns the five loaves of bread and two fishes into a feast for 20,000 people. The disciples even have to gather up the leftovers!

So what smacked me in the face this time? My own lack. That’s often all I can think about. I simply am not enough, do not have enough, cannot be enough.

This can hit us financially, when we literally don’t have enough to pay the bills. Or it can hit us emotionally, when our kids (our our spouse!) are taking such a toll on us that we’re not sure if anyone will be alive at sundown. Or it can hit us physically when we just don’t have the energy to do what needs to be done. There are so many ways that we find ourselves lacking.

We try so hard to be enough, to fool ourselves and everyone into thinking that we’re enough. But the truth is we’re always inadequate on our own. All we need to do is what the disciples did — bring what we have to Jesus. He will see that it is more than enough for the task he has set before us. Instead of focusing on where we lack, we need simply to see what we have. And in faith, we bring it to Jesus, trusting that he will make it enough.

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