During a recent devotion time with a small group, a friend presented his thoughts on Jesus feeding of the 5000 in John 6. He emphasized verse 6, “for He Himself knew what He would do.” The Messiah knew the answer before He asked Phillip about providing for the multitude, but He engaged the disciples in the problem-solving activity, thus allowing them to participate in the blessing. Jesus had the plan, but He sent the disciples to seek a solution anyway. No matter what resources they would be able to find, there would only be a little.
And Jesus went up on the mountain, and there He sat with His disciples...Then Jesus lifted up His eyes, and seeing a great multitude coming toward Him, He said to Philip, "Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?" But this He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do. John 6:3-6 NKJV
Our group discussion led me consider what other actions had God orchestrated prior to the people gathering on this hillside. Of all the people gathered to hear Christ, why was there only one boy who had brought food? Who was his mother? Was she one of those have-it-all-together, ready-for-anything kind of super moms? What were the circumstances that caused her to send the loaves and fish?
Being the mom of four sons myself, I know they are always hungry, especially when they were young and growing. Maybe her son went running off and she grabbed a couple of things to "tide him over" before he got home. It's also possible, that something else happened...
Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. 1 Timothy 5:8 NIV
As a mom goes about her task preparing bread for her family one morning, she carefully measures the ingredients, suddenly the kids run into the house! Distracted by the chaos, she stops to correct and shoo them back outside before returning to what she was doing. Not remembering, she adds a second measurement of salt!
Part of our discussion in our Spring Cleaning post included 1 Corinthians 5:6, which stated a little leavening works through the entire dough, as would salt. The mother must decide…Do I throw out the whole batch and start over or add more of the other ingredients to correct the mistake?
She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Psalm 31:27-30 NIV
I am such a frugal person, hate to waste time or resources, and personally I would be kicking myself over and over about the error. Why didn’t I pay attention? How can I salvage this mess? If I make more than the family needs, will the extra ruin and be wasted anyway? When do I just cut my losses? How can something good come from what is messed up?
What if...our bread-making mother chooses to add more of the other ingredients to offset the overage in salt? She bakes an abundance of bread for her family. All is well. She only hopes it will be eaten before it becomes too hard or molds. A few days later, her young son hears of a rabbi teaching in the area, “can I go see the teacher the village has been talking about?” As he hurries to leave, his mother remembers the stack of bread. “Son, take these extra loaves I made the other day and a couple of those fish, so you will have something for your belly.” Thus begins the boy’s journey to see the Man from Nazareth, the One called Jesus.
One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to Him, "There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?" John 6:8-9 NKJV
See the rest of the story... John 6:10-14 NKJV From this boy's small hands and willingness to share his lunch, an abundance of food was provided for those who were in need.
Can you imagine the conversation when the boy returned home?
“Mom!!!" the boy yells as he bursting through the doorway. [Isn't that what started the turn of events in the first place? God is so good.] "The Rabbi! There were all these people on the hill... someone said more than 5000! It was getting late. One of the men with the rabbi asked if anyone had any food. I showed him the bread and fish you sent. They told us to sit in groups then they passed around the bread and fish in baskets. We ate and ate and ate! We were all so full, my belly hurt. There were sooo many people. After everyone had eaten there was bread leftover! More than 12 baskets full of pieces, Mom! Your bread fed more than 5000 people today. The Rabbi used your bread to make a miracle!!”
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." Matthew 13-16 NIV
Our Savior knows…He knows who needs to be fed, who is thirsty or in need of a friendly word. He has a plan for the extra bread when life gives us extra salt. He also knows we do not understand the “whys?” He knows the beginning of our journey as well as the end, so...we keep walking, trusting and being willingly give our contributions, mistakes, and sins as an offering to be used for His greater glory.
In exchange, our Savior allows us to participate as He opens eyes, restores broken hearts and changes minds through the miracles He performs. When life gives you extra salt, the Light of the world will use it to bless others. Our blessing is that we are being used for the Kingdom, even if we never know. Celebrate the ooops in life, the Author and Perfecter of our Faith may use it for a miracle.
Elohenu, Melek ha Olam, You are God Most High, King of the Universe, there is none like You. We are Your children, and desire to be used by You to bless others. If our little "mistakes" can feed 5000 hungry souls, to You be the glory! We open our hands to relinquish our small gifts, even when we do not understand why or how. We are small and insignificant, but dust. Mighty God, You are able to use a willing, obedient heart. Praise be to our compassionate Savior, the Spirit who guides us in right living and the omnipotent hand of the Creator to change us to resemble the Son. When we make extra bread, give a compliment, pour a glass of water in Your Name, our actions can further Your kingdom. Amen.