A few years ago, I attended a community potluck in celebration of the accomplishments of young puppeteers who took part in weekly puppet clubs held at several nearby schools. The participants learned practical skills and the value of teamwork while developing self-discipline. Many of these children received affirmation and unconditional love for the first time in their lives. Several of the children appreciated the healthy snacks provided as there often wasn’t enough food at home. By the end of the school term, many of these children came to love Jesus even more than they loved their leaders.
Usually, these kids only performed for their classmates, but this was a special celebration. Parents were sent invitations, and as many of our guests would be non-church goers, our church wanted them to feel at home. Unfortunately, the news that a potluck would follow the performance didn’t reach the ears of many church members until a day or two before the event. Many were left scrambling, putting something together from their pantries.
The morning of the grand event, I arrived with my small contribution of store-bought hummus and pita chips. The tables set aside to receive food were sparsely laden. I glanced up to heaven and asked the Lord to multiply my offering. It would not go far.
I enjoyed the puppet show and cheered on each group as they did a fantastic job. However, I couldn’t help but glance over at the tables now and again. The short notice didn’t give our pastors the chance to remind each member that we would have more guests to feed than usual. A few latecomers trickled in, dropping off their dishes. I looked over my shoulder once again. There just wasn’t enough food for such a large group of people. Our church location is in a poorer area of town, and there was no doubt that some of our guests hadn’t had breakfast.
The last two groups performed and it was down to a farewell song. The silly antics of an orangutan, a green duck, and an outrageously fluorescent and flamboyant orange lion distracted me from my worries. I joined in the rousing applause as the performers took their curtain calls.
As soon as the applause died down, I took a rough headcount of the crowd. There were so many mouths to feed. I doubted that enough food would suddenly appear on the tables that lined the walls of the gym. Well, Doubting Katherine needed to do some serious repentance.
Someone else, perhaps a fellow worry-wart, hastily ordered five extra-large pizzas that now jostled for space on overflowing tables. Chili, salads, sandwiches, chicken, home-made rolls, and lasagnas waited on two tables. Desserts and fresh fruit sat on a nearby table. Our pastors encouraged their guests to fit a bit more on their plate. By the time that 200 people were invited to go up for thirds, you might have thought there wouldn’t be many leftovers. You would be wrong. Although we blessed our puppeteers and their families with substantial care-packages, we still had plenty of food to take to a men’s shelter downtown.
John 6:8-10 – One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?” Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.”
Jesus didn’t bother answering Andrew’s doubt-ridden protest with a long discourse of provision and unbelief. No, He simply asked Andrew to have the people sit down. He would take care of the rest.
Obedience and trust go hand in hand in God’s kingdom. We want to see the miracle before we step out in faith. It doesn’t work that way.
I often fret that there won’t be enough. Enough grace, enough patience, enough love, enough joy, enough peace, enough finances, enough strength. I struggle with unbelief, even as I pray, “Lord, multiply my little offering.” Oh, how the Lord must shake His head at my disbelief. The same God who took the boy’s lunch and fed thousands is the same God who provides for His people today. God will take what little I have to give and multiply it so there is always more than enough.
Think back on God’s miraculous provision for you over the years. If you haven’t yet noticed, I place a high value of keeping testimonies.
Start a testimony journal of your own. If you have a hard time believing God will provide, take this challenge for a week. Every day, write down the things He provided for you that day. A 50 cent coupon for milk, a good deal on Amazon, fresh water, a comfortable bed, a tasty sandwich, a good friend who called to check in on you, an easy solution to what you thought was a complex problem. The air you breathe, the food in your fridge, the safety of your home, the freedom to read this article without fear of being thrown into jail or worse. Your pet’s silly antics, a stranger who opened a door. It might be a stretch, you might have to prime the pump to get the thanksgiving waters flowing again but they will return,
Take it another step and tell yourself this truth: if God did it before, He will certainly do it again!
Go yet one step further and joyfully share with others those tales of provision. Give God the glory! As you speak those testimonies out loud, something happens in your heart. Your faith increases.
Think back to those risk-taking, heart-in-your-throat, jumping-into-the-deep end calls to obedience in your past. Did you have everything you needed before you stepped out to do what He called to do? Are you holding back on stepping out because you are looking for His hand of provision to appear before you give your pledge of obedience to His call?
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All Bible verses, unless otherwise attributed, are from the English Standard Version (ESV).
Until Next Week
©2017 Katherine Walden
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