What do you have?
Have you ever found yourself faced with a situation where the need was so great, and a solution seemed so out of reach, that you didn’t even know where to begin? I have felt that way many times on mission trips, when I see people struggling to have enough food to eat or clothes to wear. I feel that way when I hear about sex trafficking or the drug problem that is rampant all over the world. It can seem so overwhelming. It is easy to feel so unequipped to handle it or help, that we simply shake our head with a heavy heart and walk away thinking, “I don’t have an answer to that problem” and we pray “God please help these poor people.”
In Matthew 15:32-39 we find Jesus has been teaching a crowd of people for three days. He turns to his disciples and says, “I am unwilling to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way.” Although it is not my intention to teach on the symbolism here, I believe it is worth mentioning…. He has been teaching three days….Jesus is going to die and be dead three days…..then he will be raised up and then leave and ascend to heaven, but he is unwilling to send us away (with our souls empty) so he gives us the Holy Spirit to comfort, guide and strengthen us, “lest we faint along the way.” There are so many of these pictures of what is to come, throughout scripture. Genius! Now on to my point..
Jesus presents a problem to the disciples. Their response is to tell him they can’t help the people because they don’t have enough.…They don’t have enough food or money to buy food and they are too far away to find some anyway! All good arguments. They give him facts. They give him physical evidence that there is no easy or practical resources that they have at their disposal to meet the need. They don’t have enough. Jesus responds to them by asking them, “What DO you have? This too has symbolism for us. I think sometimes we see a problem and tend to think we have to wait until we “have it all together,” until we are a better Christian, until we have read our Bible through, or make more money, or have more time. THEN we will do something to help. In these moments when our hearts are tugged and we feel compassion, Jesus is asking us, “What do you have?”
Then what will he do with it? Having given thanks, (for what they were willing to give) he blessed it and broke it into enough to feed them all, with seven baskets full of pieces left over. Matthew 15:36-37 He took what they gave him, prayed over it with thankfulness and blessed it, then miraculously transformed it into just what was needed and gave it to the people. We don’t have to wait around for perfect circumstances.. There will never be perfect circumstances. He is teaching us in this scripture, to give what we have, as who we are right now. We don’t have to be “Super Christian.” Be who you are right now, where your are right now and do what you can right now to love and serve others. He will take care of the details. It is not us who work the miracles, and heal wounded hearts and lives. We are not the Savior, BUT we know him and we can introduce him to those around us as we give what we have. He isn’t asking us to have enough. He is asking us what we have that he can work with! Just bless it and give it. He will turn it into whatever is needed. It’s not about WHAT you have to give. He is the Creator of the Universe, the great I AM. Do we really think it has anything to do with WHAT we have to give? NO! It is completely irrelevant how good of a person we are or what specifically we have to offer. Do you think that if Jesus had been given only one loaf of bread and one fish, that it would have changed the results? Of course not. He is God. The WHAT doesn’t matter, just the WHO that we are giving it to. When we give what we have, we get to be a part of the miracle he performs in other peoples lives. Guess what? That miracle affects us too! They were amazed, and in awe of him. Their faith was made stronger and their boldness bigger! Thank him for whatever you have to give, whether that is great or small, whether it is resources, physical labor, loving on someone, or praying for someone. Just thank him that you have something to offer, ask him to bless it, then give it. What do you have?