Thursday, May 14, 2009

Feeding Our Children

If you haven't read Tuesday's post, please read that one before you read the following post:

It was a typical day in the life of Jesus and His disciples. They traveled from town to town doing good and a large crowd of people followed them wherever they went. Jesus knew they followed Him not so much to be near Him but to receive the benefits of His healing. The time of the Passover feast was nearing for the Jews, and as Jesus climbed the mountain with his disciples and the great multitude of people, He prepared to teach a lesson about the Bread of Life in anticipation of the feast.

He sat down and looked around. So many needs, so many problems! Many were visible--the lame man, the woman groping about in blindness, the sick child being carried by a worried father. Yet, the great Creator could look into each heart and see the more glaring needs.

Turning to the disciple nearest Him, He asked him how they were going to feed everyone. Phillip was astonished! Feed them? He replied that two hundred day's wages wouldn't even give each one a little. The other disciples joined him in surmising how they could feed such a large crowd. After investigation, all they could produce was five loaves of bread and two small fish found in a young boy's lunch.

Jesus knew that many of the people assembled only followed them for what they could get from Him. He also knew that some needed to see some evidence that they should believe in Him. However, He also had a lesson for His faithful disciples that day.

  • Jesus let the disciples exhaust all their own resources first. How many times as parents do we have it all "figured out"? We try our techniques and stay awake at nights trying to decide how to handle the latest discipline problem. God allows us to do this so that we can come to the end of our resources and admit, "Lord, I can't do it through my own power. Only You can parent these children as they need parenting."
  • All Jesus needs to work is our admission that we don't have enough and access to what we do have. Once we admit that we need Him and can't do it in our own strength, God doesn't step in with super-power weapons. He uses our own feeble resources in order to prove His power.
  • Jesus blessed the small gift of a boy's lunch and worked a miracle through it. For us, He takes those broken prayers and that imperfect training that is committed to Him and works through them.
  • Jesus didn't individually go to every person, but worked His miracle through the disciples. Yes, it would be easier if Jesus would directly parent our little ones. Instead, He chooses us as imperfect but committed vessels to bear the Bread of Life to our children.
Phillip went to the group of 50 men nearest him with the piece of broken bread and a small portion of one of the small fish. He held it out to the man at the front of the group and was amazed to see it replenished in his hand as he turned to the man's wife. He knew it wasn't his doing, but the bread had been blessed by the Lord Himself! As he approached the group a little later with a basket as commanded by Jesus, he was even more amazed to watch the basket filling up with remaining fragments of his original meager portion of bread and fish. The five thousand men and their families had been fed, but the work wasn't over. Now he had a basket of bread and fish to give to someone else who needed a portion of the Bread of Life.

As for us, if someday in Heaven we stand with our children before the Throne of God, we can only look back to our completely inadequate resources and say, "It's only by the miracle of God!"

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