Man, I tell you…that fish must have been thissssss big! You know, there was a time when a big fish story about Jesus was told, and it was a doozy! Many of you have are familiar with the story, so I will paraphrase.
When Jesus heard about the death of His friend, John the Baptist, he took a boat to a quiet place. But the crowds followed. When he landed, compassionately, He healed those who were sick. As supper time rolled around, His disciples asked Jesus to send everyone away because they were in the middle of nowhere and they didn’t have food to feed them. But Jesus shocked them when, instead, He told them to feed the people. And here’s the part most people remember. But they only had five loaves of bread and two fish. Not enough, right, Jesus? Now Jesus may or may not have added a little eye roll here. I might have. Just saying. But He took the food and blessed it and told the disciples to pass it out.
“They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. About five thousand men were fed, in addition to women and children.” (1)
Now, granted, that was a bit more of a fish sandwich story, but you get the gist.
When is the last time you got some difficult news? Did you want a bunch of needy people hanging around? Unlikely. When Jesus heard about what happened to his friend John, He wanted to be alone for a bit. We all need time to process difficult things from time to time. But the crowds followed. Instead of being bothered, Jesus had compassion, healing their sick. I can’t say that I would have done the same. As the day progressed, it seems the disciples expected the crowds to dissipate. Yet they remained. Heart rate up, they took a long look at their available resources. Five loaves of bread and two fish.
But Jesus said to feed them…all of them. Can you imagine? Five thousand people hanging around, waiting for dinner and the disciples don’t even see enough for themselves. “We don’t have enough,” they must have been thinking. Our credit cards are maxed out, Judas’ pouch is practically empty…again. So, what did Jesus expect them to do? Doesn’t our bank balance determine what we can tithe, what we can buy, what we can and cannot do? But the Lord has given them directions. Feed them.
Don’t you think that if Jesus hadn’t been standing right there, the disciples would have rationalized some reason to disperse the crowd. God can’t expect us to do what He hasn’t given us the resources to accomplish, right? They would have told the crowd to go home so they could sit down and gobble up the loaves and fish, likely still being hungry after. They saw only with worldly eyes, and this walk in the flesh would have left them unsatisfied and God’s miracle unrealized.
Good thing that Jesus maintained His Father’s perspective on it all. “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” (2) Focusing only on what we can see or what we have access to is the opposite of walking in faith. Until we stop trusting in the proverbial “bird in the hand” and walk firmly trusting in the Creator of all things, the Giver of each breath, we will never see the true provisions that God has for us, delivered in ways we could never imagine.
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (3)
“And I am sure that God who began the good work within you will keep right on helping you grow in his grace until his task within you is finally finished on that day when Jesus Christ returns.” (4)
So, how about we stop focusing on our own “fish stories,” and focus on He who is the Provider of all that has been entrusted to us?