When we look at the word generosity, sometimes we think, “uh, oh, that’s a loaded word.”
But here’s the thing. You and I WANT to be generous people. No one doesn’t at least aspire to it. But living that way is much harder because…. well, life happens.
And under the pressure of those two things… ·
One of the miracles of Jesus shows up in the Book of John. It may seem insignificant compared to some of the things Jesus did, but there’s something really important here.
We only see our not enough or our needs being too great. We see the crowd coming up the hill.
How many of you are calculators? How many of you are married to one? You have this great idea, and you start running the numbers. When it comes to us with each other, accurately counting the cost is a really important thing. But when it comes to God, we can miss what He wants us to do.
Sometimes we calculate what we think God could do rather than trusting in what God WILL do. The voice of the calculation is often different from the voice of faith, serving as the idol of control.
We look at our resources, talent, time, and money and calculate what we think God could do. This calculation looks a lot like what WE can do because it allows us to stay in control.
Here is a boy – God’s provision is often hidden in the midst of what you see as the problem.
God is looking for something to work with. He’s not asking how much we have. He’s asking if we have something and if we’re willing to trust Him.
The boy’s lunch isn’t even a great one. He’s got the cheapest bread available. And if this doesn’t work out, he will go hungry. He’s not going to stop at McDonald’s or get on his DoorDash app.
It’s crazy that it didn’t take the super-religious disciples, all it took was a boy with a cheap lunch and a lot to lose.
We have to see what generosity takes for God to use it. It’s not about the best or the most.
Jesus gives thanks for NOT ENOUGH, and it becomes “as much as they wanted.”
The reason we struggle with this is not because we don’t intend to be generous. Instead, it’s because we think there’s not enough, which leads us to our first struggle.
1. Scarcity Mentality When it comes to how God operates, we either believe in a God of Scarcity or a God of Plenty. “Not enough” is not an absolute. It’s perspective, and it’s relative. No magic moment or a magic number takes the Scarcity Mentality away.
Here’s the key to this story: God’s work happens in the world because of someone, with something, that God uses and multiplies. We have this idea that God’s work starts with someone else who has something else and who’s somewhere else.
Or that it’s this invisible force. We pray that God will intervene, God will provide, God will show up, God will work. This brings us to our second struggle.
2. “The invisible they”
When you pray one of those prayers, or wish one of those wishes, what you’re really praying or wishing for is an invisible they – someone who you haven’t identified, but that’s not you.
When we sit on the sidelines of life, relationships, church, injustice, or some need we could meet with our passion and your resources in tow, our actions prove that we are waiting for someone else to do it for us.
Do yourself a favor, be honest, and finish that thought. Who is that other person? Identify them. Name them.
Say, “this person is going to do the things that I won’t do or think I can’t do.”
What if someone was saying that about you?
And this isn’t talking about us showing up because of our own strength. It’s about being empowered by the spirit of God. What if we stop invoking the invisible they, and we all agree that it’s our lunch that God wants to use?
“Faith isn’t figuring out what we’re able to do, it’s deciding what we are going to do even when we think we can’t.” ~Bob Goff
So, ask yourself, what’s your “lunch?” What’s in your hand today?
It seems like “not enough.” You can’t start with where you were, where you want to be, where you wish you were, or what you wish you had. It involves risk.
What’s in your hand may seem small, insignificant, inadequate… that’s precisely the point.
In the story, Jesus didn’t use a farmer with a field or a baker with a chef’s kitchen. Instead, he used a boy and a lunch.
Think about what a farmer does with seed. It’s faith. They have faith in their harvest. What if you had the same faith in God?
This is literally how the world around us sees God.
Generosity gives us the chance to participate in the blessing of God. Just think about this boy and how God turned his experience into a powerful testimony.
Jesus already has in mind what he’s going to do. But it’s going to start with a willing heart, just enough faith, and whatever is in your hand.
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