The older I get, the more I realize I’m not as smart as I always thought I was. I’m not as talented as I always thought I was, and I’m nowhere near as virtuous, either. That’s not to say I’ve lost all sense self-esteem, though God knows I’ve got my issues in that department. No, I’ve just been realizing little by little I’m not the superhero I always thought I was.
If that isn’t enough, the older I get, the more I’m aware of problems in the church and the world in general. It’s like the world I know has gotten bigger and more complicated, but I’ve stayed the same size. It’s tempting to look around me, to look at myself, and then to decide it would be arrogant and misguided of me to expect to make any difference. What I have to offer is so small in comparison to what is needed.
But then I see a story like the feeding of the five thousand.
If you’re not familiar with the story, in John 6 Jesus is out preaching and performing miracles. It gets to a point where people are starting to get hungry, but no one wants to go home. The disciples are starting to worry, because they don’t have the money to go on a food run for five thousand people. Finally, they find a kid who’s willing to give up his sack lunch. He has five loaves of bread and two little fish. In fact, the disciples make sure to point out that he has “five small barley loaves and two small fish” (John 6:9, emphasis added).
What he has to offer is so small in comparison to what is needed.
But Jesus doesn’t see it that way. He just starts handing out food. And he keeps on handing it out. And he keeps on handing it out until somehow, five small loaves and two small fish have fed several thousand people. This kid either didn’t know what little he had to offer, or he just didn’t care. Whatever the case, his meager resources ended up being used for something incredible. All he had to do was turn them over to Jesus.
It’s tempting for me to look at my resources – whether it’s money, speaking or writing talent, or just time – and decide the impact it would make on the world and all its problems is so small it wouldn’t even register. Maybe it’s tempting for you, too. But Jesus is in the business of taking limited resources and turning them into feasts. Even beyond that, his Father is in the business of taking limited people and turning them into world-changers.