Only in God’s Economy

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings: 1 Chronicles 4-6; John 6:1-21

One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said, “A youth here has five barley loaves and two fish. But what good is that for a crowd like this?”

10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass there. They sat down, about five thousand of them. 11 Then Jesus took the bread. When he had given thanks, he distributed it to those who were sitting there. He did the same with the fish, each getting as much as they wanted. 12 When they had plenty to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather up the leftover pieces, so that nothing will be wasted.” 13 So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves that had been left over by those who had eaten.

At some point, almost all of us have experienced the “More Month than Money Syndrome.” I doubt that is actually a thing. I think I just made it up but then again, there are other things I think I makeup and come to find out, they really were already a thing. So while I think it isn’t a thing, who knows, it could be.

Sometimes it just seems like no matter what we do, the paycheck runs out and we look at the calendar and there are still plenty of days left before the next payday shows up. I know I have experienced it more than once. I also remember hearing my dad talk about times when I was little that making ends meet was a struggle. Don’t get me wrong, we were never without food or without a roof over our heads. It’s just that getting close to the end of the month, there wasn’t much money for anything extra.

John wants to make sure we are aware that Jesus already knew what he was going to do before anything ever started, yet he asks, “Where will we get food enough to feed all these people?” Well, it would seem, in the Divine economy, it really doesn’t take much.

Enter Andrew with a young friend who apparently was the only one who was ever a Boy Scout. That just means he was prepared, which is the Boy Scout motto. This young boy was the only one who stopped by his local Kroger to buy something for a sack lunch before he got on the hillside.

Everyone sits down for a picnic in the grass. Jesus divides up the food. There is no way anyone could have more than a pinch is there? There was five loaves of bread and two fish to feed 5000 men. There were also women and children present.

The disciples begin handing out the food. Everyone gets all they want. How could that be?

“Everyone, feeling generous, took just a pinch and that allowed the food to make its way through all the people.” Really? You must be joking. But that is what some Biblical scholars argue. The real argument to them is far more about Jesus quelling their hunger than the amount of available food.

Let me ask this question? If Jesus can perform a miracle to make everyone satisfied with just a tiny morsel of food, why bother with the food at all? Just place satisfaction in their stomachs and call it a day. Additionally, the idea of each person only getting a crumb cannot explain having more at the end than you have when starting.

“When the people saw the generosity of the little boy, they pulled out the food they had hidden and everyone shared their food. It was one giant potluck dinner.” I guess it would be possible but I doubt it. Have you EVER gotten one selfish person to share anything? Multiply that experience by more than 5000 and you get an idea of how unlikely this argument really is. That proposal might be the biggest miracle of all (he says in words dripping with sarcasm). Besides, why do some of us feel it so necessary to explain away something that requires us to accept it on faith? I do guess if this one were true, it would be possible to have more at the end than you had in the beginning.

Still, if Jesus was to be believed, is to be believed even today, in spite of the numbers that would say this whole story was impossible, we humans all too often fail to take the power of God into consideration.

This story is a great example of God’s power. Where else could a very small investment produce a net result thousands of times the initial investment in a period of only an hour or two. That is God’s economy.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

 

Author:

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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