Learning the unforced rhythms of grace


Provision through People

I don't know why, but God seems to prefer providing for our needs through other people. He rarely drops a bucket of cash on our doorstep or fresh groceries into our fridge overnight. He could . . . He is fully able . . . but He chooses to use people. 

Consider the story of how Jesus provided for people in John 6. Even though Jesus knew exactly what He was going to do, he engaged in conversation with His disciples about all the possibilities. He asked them, "Where can we buy bread to feed these people?" (vs.5) The disciples looked around. One of them, Andrew, noticed a little boy. He brought the boy to Jesus and suggested that perhaps this boy's lunch could be helpful. 

It's a ridiculous thought, isn't it? One kid's lunch: five loaves of bread and two small fish. His mom probably packed enough for him and his brothers and sisters for the day. Even for Andrew to suggest this as a solution to the problem is ridiculous. 

But to Jesus, it was perfect. He had the people sit down, he prayed over the food, and then divided into baskets, and kept dividing it, and dividing it and it never stopped. The disciples handed out the food to the people and there was plenty left over. 

I don't know about you, but I'm often tempted to measure the value of what I have before I offer it. Imagine if the little boy had looked at his lunch and assumed it was of no value and walked to the back of the crowd. Based on what we read in John 6, it sounds like he was right at the front of the crowd, listening into the brainstorming between Jesus and his disciples, maybe even clearing his throat a little, or flipping back the cloth that covered the bread so his lunch was even more visible. 

What if you and I did that? What if we believed that what we had, as little or as worthless as it may seem, is perfect in the hands of Jesus?

My sickness, my pain, my weakness . . . my simple lifestyle, my writing, my little sock animals that I make on bad pain days . . . I don't often feel confident that the contents of my life makes good party-conversation, let alone, that God could use them powerfully for his purposes.

Or what about you? What are the things you tend to feel embarrassed or insecure about?

Let's be people who offer freely what we have, regardless of how it looks to us, because of who Jesus is and His ability to see our offerings as perfect for what He needs. 

Or as Paul wrote:

"But he [God] said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:9-10