Blessed… This Will Never Work, But it Did

When the crowds learned this, they followed him on foot from the cities. When Jesus arrived and saw a large crowd, he had compassion for them and healed those who were sick. That evening his disciples came and said to him, “This is an isolated place and it’s getting late. Send the crowds away so they can go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” But Jesus said to them, “There’s no need to send them away. You give them something to eat.” They replied, “We have nothing here except five loaves of bread and two fish.” He said, “Bring them here to me.” He ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. He took the five loaves of bread and the two fish, looked up to heaven, blessed them and broke the loaves apart and gave them to his disciples. Then the disciples gave them to the crowds. Everyone ate until they were full, and they filled twelve baskets with the leftovers. About five thousand men plus women and children had eaten (Matthew 14:13-21, Common English Bible).

The favorite all-time television show at my house is M*A*S*H. I like the show, Cindy loves it. At one time we recorded every episode back when the Houston CBS affiliate (KHOU) ran it after the ten o’clock news.

As I was thinking about our lesson the last few days and as we revisit it one last time before moving on, an old episode of M*A*S*H titled “They Call the Wind Korea.” In this episode a Manchurian windstorm is coming to the 4077. Despite the storm Major Winchester convinces Klinger to drive him to Seoul. They come across a transport truck that is overturned and has injured men on board. One has a collapsed lung. Winchester laments his lack of proper equipment and insists he can’t be expected to do this without being in a proper operating room with all the right equipment but he continues to work. He needs to re-inflate the lung. He takes a syringe and other things and works to accomplish the needed task saying over and over again, “This will never work.” In the end, of course, it does work and the Greek soldier lives.

I can’t help but wonder when the disciples brought the little boy’s lunch (John’s version of this story) to Jesus, who separates it into portions and tells the twelve to take it out to the people (Remember from yesterday’s post that we are actually talking about considerably more than 5000. It was 5000 men plus women and children. An estimate of 20,000 people would not be unreasonable) if the disciples were saying, “This will never work.”

It could easily be something they would say. Forget the women and children for a moment and think about trying to feed 5000 men with five loaves of bread and two fish. We would probably be saying, “This will never work.” Now, further complicate the matter by adding in all the women and children (whatever number that may have been). Again, for at least one disciple to say “This will never work” is not an unreasonable assumption. Lots of people without lots of food. “This will never work.”

But, as we know, from having read the story above, it did work. It worked amazingly well. Jesus gave each of the disciples a basket of food and the disciples worked their way through the crowd, giving people their fill of food as they went. Everyone had plenty. The baskets never ran out of food. And, in the end, there were twelve baskets of leftovers. In other words, THEY HAD MORE FOOD LEFT WHEN THEY FINISHED THAN THEY HAD WHEN THEY STARTED.

That is really something. Even when the impossible seems to be present, God can show up and do exceedingly more than anyone believes possible. “It will never work” are four words that, when used together, well, let’s just say God doesn’t use those words together.

It will never work. That is, it will never work until God says it will.

Where have you seen something you thought would never work, actually work because God touched and blessed the event?

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Joy and Thankfulness,

Copyright 2017, J. 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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