Life Happened!


The apostles returned to Jesus and told him everything they had done and taught. Many people were coming and going, so there was no time to eat. He said to the apostles, “Come by yourselves to a secluded place and rest for a while.” They departed in a boat by themselves for a deserted place. Many people saw them leaving and recognized them, so they ran ahead from all the cities and arrived before them. When Jesus arrived and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. Then he began to teach them many things. Late in the day, his disciples came to him and said, “This is an isolated place, and it’s already late in the day. Send them away so that they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy something to eat for themselves.” He replied, “You give them something to eat. But they said to him, “Should we go off and buy bread worth almost eight months’ pay and give it to them to eat?” He said to them, “How much bread do you have? Take a look.” After checking, they said, “Five loaves of bread and two fish.” He directed the disciples to seat all the people in groups as though they were having a banquet on the green grass. They sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties. He took the five loaves and the two fish, looked up to heaven, blessed them, broke the loaves into pieces, and gave them to his disciples to set before the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. Everyone ate until they were full. They filled twelve baskets with the leftover pieces of bread and fish. About five thousand had eaten. (Mark 6:30-44, Common English Bible).

I know, I wrote for just over a week and then immediately missed a week. Hence the title, “Life Happened.” Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday I was at Lakeview Methodist Conference Center, our camp near Palestine Texas for a clergy conference. I wrote a post on Tuesday night but when I came back to my room on Wednesday evening, I wasn’t feeling well, went to bed early (it was before 9:00 and for me that is REALLY early), fell asleep and slept until the next morning. Thursday was filled with the last day of the conference and then driving back to Sweeny and Patriot Choir/Coastalaires rehearsal. I could go on for the days since, but lets just say life happened.

The story above is one of our favorites. I don’t know of any Christian who doesn’t like at least one of the Gospel versions of the Feeding of the Five Thousand. I am a fan of it too. In light of “life happening” the past week, I started thinking about this story in that light. It is something I have not considered before.

Jesus and the disciples had a long few days teaching and tending to people. It went on to the point they didn’t have time to eat. One could argue that life happened right at that point, but for me that life happening event was still to come. Jesus tells the disciples, “Let’s get away for awhile.” They got in a boat and made their way to an isolated place to rest. The crowds, however, followed along on foot. They wanted more of Jesus. In other words, life happened.

But, life continued to happen. Jesus tended and taught once again until it was late in the day. People needed to eat. Jesus tells the disciples to give them something to eat. Yet all the disciples had was five loaves of bread and two fish (a young boy’s lunch according to John. That lunch I heard my friend Matt Neely called a cold catfish sandwich in a wonderful sermon one time). Boy, was life happening. Five thousand people to feed on a small lunch. That is a tough circumstance for the disciples to wade through. It would be a tough circumstance for any of us to wade through.

It might be tough for the disciples or us, but not for Jesus. Jesus tells them to bring him the food, to divide them into groups and serve them banquet style. When they were finished eating, everyone was full and there were twelve baskets of food leftover. It has always amazed me that Jesus not only met the need and exceeded it, he did it extravagantly. Jesus had more food left than the food with which he started.

As I was thinking about my days over the past week and the lessons this story provides, it seems to me, we are called to do the best we can with what we have. With God’s blessings, often that is enough. But sometimes, what we can do just isn’t enough. We, like the disciples, need Jesus’ help.

We can never do everything with our own power, even when life happens. We need God. At the same time, just because we need God doesn’t mean we can stand on the sidelines waiting for God to work. Remember, Jesus didn’t act until after the disciples did. We are the same. Sometimes, God expects us to do what we can, to give things our best shot and when life happens, we let God do the rest.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Grace and Peace,

Copyright 2016, James “Keith” Broyles, All Rights Reserved.



Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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