There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many? -- John 6:9
Wednesday, October 14, 2015
What's In Your Wallet?
The longer I live, the more I am convinced that Science! is the drunk looking for his keys under the streetlight. The streetlights are good. They illuminate certain parts of the world, making us safer and more secure and comfortable. I appreciate the truth discovered through the scientific method and the technological advancements we have made. Yet there is a great and vast reality that begins at the edge of the streetlight’s circle of understanding, an immense darkness that can never be brought within that little sphere of human understanding. Most of the cosmos can only be illuminated by the Light of God.
I have heard some naturalistic explanations of the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand. For example, someone said that other people had food with them. When Jesus blessed those few loaves and fishes offered by the boy, others were moved to share their bread as well. While it is certainly something of a miracle for many of us to transcend our self-centeredness, none of the Gospel records give any indication that such a thing might have happened. There were people who experienced the miracle of a changed life or of health restored, who were transformed by their contact with the Lord and, in gratitude and thanksgiving, held feasts or supported Jesus and His disciples; nevertheless, that does not appear to be the case here as reported by John, Mark, Luke, or Matthew.
Jesus always worked within the divine laws that govern this universe. As Lewis stated somewhere, our Lord would not turn a solid round stone into a loaf of bread, but He had no problem turning a bit of bread put into His hand into much bread, just as a bit of wheat entrusted to the ground becomes much more wheat every season. His miracles are not the magic of illusions that conceal reality with smoke and mirrors. His works pull back the curtain and reveal the sacred truth behind the mundane cycles and events we routinely witness and experience.
Like a lot of people, when I have inadequate resources or a shortage, I tend to focus on what I am missing. Our natural inclination is toward fear, concern, and worry when we have a problem. The feeding of the five thousand tells us that whatever we have in our situation is sufficient if we are willing to put it in the hands of God with child-like faith. The little boy stands for that innocent, even naïve aspect of our nature that is not hindered or discouraged by the ridiculousness of our resources in the face of the need. The boy offered what he had. It was Philip who looked at the throng and wondered how one little lunch basket could make a dent in that crowd’s appetite.
The surrender is ours. The solution belongs to God. I look at the world as it stands in this present situation, and I am baffled as to how it can be resolved without much war and death and destruction. There is so much corruption, deception, bitterness, and rancor between this group and that group, between classes and races, religions and nations, it is hard to believe that the tiny bit of love, faith, joy, and peace that I can share will make any difference. It won’t if we keep it to ourselves, but if we put it into God’s hands, miracles will happen. We might see revival in our nation or our city, our work place, or just in the heart of a friend or neighbor. I don’t know. All I know is that my clinging to my old way of thinking and experiencing the world will hold me back from witnessing the power of God. We must become as little children in our trust and reliance upon our heavenly Father.