Philip and the other disciples had been following Jesus for a while now. They had seen Jesus perform miracle after miracle. Even now, a huge crowd was approaching Jesus because they knew about His miraculous work. Jesus sees this as an opportunity to test Philip. He asks Philip, “Where will we buy bread to feed these people?” Philip doesn’t answer the question Jesus asks, instead, he makes a statement about their lack. It doesn’t seem to enter his mind that the Bread of Life is sitting right in front of him. When Jesus asks us to do something for Him, what do we see? What is our answer? Don’t we do basically what Philip did? “Even if we_______, we wouldn’t have enough! (fill in the blank with whatever you think you would have to do to accomplish the mission). Most of us, like Philip, avoid the question and look at what we don’t have. Jesus will never ask us to do a work for Him without providing everything we need to accomplish the task. All he wants is our availability and all we need to finish the work is Jesus. If we do what Jesus asks us to do, the oil and the flour will not run out.
15 The widow went and did as Elijah had told her, and all of them had enough food for many days. 16 As the Lord had promised through Elijah, the bowl did not run out of flour nor did the jar run out of oil.—1 Kings 17:15, 16 (GNT)
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
8 “Moreover, I hereby decree that you are to help these elders of the Jews as they rebuild this Temple of God. You must pay the full construction costs, without delay, from my taxes collected in the province west of the Euphrates River so that the work will not be interrupted. — Ezra 6:8 NLT
In Exodus, we saw that when God brought the Israelis out of the bondage of Israel, He brought them laden with gold and the treasures of the land. God had instructed Moses to tell the people to ask their Egyptian neighbors for whatever they would give. In this way, Egypt was plundered. God had sent the Israelis into bondage again when the Babylon army ransacked Jerusalem and took the people to Babylon. When the time of their bondage was fulfilled, God brought them out of Babylon to go to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple. Cyrus had decreed that they could go in peace and do this. He gave them the bowls and utensils that had been brought from the Temple. Cyrus also decreed that their neighbors should “contribute toward their expenses” by giving them voluntary offerings of gold, silver, livestock and anything else they might need for their journey to Jerusalem. The people of the provinces west of the Euphrates opposed the rebuilding of the Temple. When Darius became king, they wrote him a letter requesting that that he, Darius, should tell the Israelis to cease and desist. Instead, Darius had the records searched and found the decree that Cyrus had written years before. He not only decreed that everything in that letter would be fulfilled but that the peoples of the provinces west of the Euphrates would not help the elders rebuild the Temple but they would bear the cost of the reconstruction using the tax money they usually paid to Darius. You would need to read the whole book of Ezra to get even a small grasp of all that God provided for His people so the Temple could be rebuilt. They received gifts worth billions in today’s economy. God never sends us anywhere or asks us to do anything that He does not provide “more than enough’ to complete the mission. “Dayenu” is Hebrew for “sufficient for us” and it is a beautiful Passover song that reminds us of just how great God really is.
19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. — Matthew 6:19-21 NKJV
We spend the majority of our time working to make money and another good portion of our time figuring out how we are going to spend that money. Plans, goals and budgets are good things. Our goal is to make it to heaven, but Jesus understood that it takes money to make the trip. After all, Judas was the “treasurer” for Jesus and His disciples. But Jesus also told the rich young ruler to sell all that He had and give it to the poor. So, the question is how much is enough and how much is too much. The writer of Proverbs put it this way:
8 Remove falsehood and lies far from me; Give me neither poverty nor riches— Feed me with the food allotted to me;
9 Lest I be full and deny You, and say, “Who is the Lord?”
Or lest I be poor and steal, and profane the name of my God. — Proverbs 30:9 NKJV
Jesus taught us to pray “give me this day my daily bread”. When God sent manna from heaven, He instructed the Israelites to collect only enough for each day (except for the day before the Sabbath when they collected enough for two days). If they collected more, it rotted and was of no use. How much is enough is a question each of us should ask the Lord. We just need to remember who we are serving and be sure we allow Him to be Lord of our lives. Then, when the bank account is overflowing, it won’t be too much and when it is empty, it won’t be too little. He has promised to provide and if we are obedient, He will do just that.
35 Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But you haven’t believed in me even though you have seen me. 37 However, those the Father has given me will come to me, and I will never reject them. 38 For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do my own will. 39 And this is the will of God, that I should not lose even one of all those he has given me, but that I should raise them up at the last day.40 For it is my Father’s will that all who see his Son and believe in him should have eternal life. I will raise them up at the last day.”—John 6:35-40 (NLT)
No matter how much you ate on Thanksgiving, if you haven’t eaten anything since, you are hungry. That is how the physical bread and body works But there is a Bread and water that feeds the Spirit. When we partake of this Bread and water, we will never be hungry or thirsty again, because there is a perpetual supply flowing from our Lord and Savior.
There is a huge difference in being hungry and hungering, both in the natural and the Spiritual. The only time I have ever really been hungry was after 3 days with no food on a survival training exercise. But I can eat a big meal and still hunger for some good old lemon icebox pie. We could have eaten a couple of hours ago and there is no way that we could actually be hungry. Yet, the sight of our favorite dessert can make our mouth water. That is the way we should be spiritually, we can be filled and refilled with the Spirit and still hunger for more. We should be filled, but it should never be enough. We should be filled, but always thirsting for more. 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.–Matthew 5:6 (NKJV)
Jesus is the Bread and the water that sustains eternal life.
1 After this, Jesus crossed over to the far side of the Sea of Galilee, also known as the Sea of Tiberias. 2 A huge crowd kept following him wherever he went, because they saw his miraculous signs as he healed the sick. 3 Then Jesus climbed a hill and sat down with his disciples around him. 4 (It was nearly time for the Jewish Passover celebration.) 5 Jesus soon saw a huge crowd of people coming to look for him. Turning to Philip, he asked, “Where can we buy bread to feed all these people?” 6 He was testing Philip, for he already knew what he was going to do. 7 Philip replied, “Even if we worked for months, we wouldn’t have enough money to feed them!”—John 6:1-7 (NLT)
Philip and the other disciples had been following Jesus for a while now. They had seen Jesus perform miracle after miracle. Even now, a huge crowd was approaching Jesus because they knew about His miraculous work. Jesus sees this as an opportunity to test Philip. He asks Philip, “Where will we buy bread to feed these people?” Philip doesn’t answer the question Jesus asks, instead, he makes a statement about their lack. It doesn’t seem to enter his mind that the Bread of Life is sitting right in front of him. When Jesus asks us to do something for Him, what do we see? What is our answer? Don’t we do basically what Philip did? “Even if, we_______, we wouldn’t have enough! (fill in the blank with whatever you think you would have to do to accomplish the mission). Most of us, like Philip, avoid the question and look at what we don’t have. Jesus will never ask us to do a work for Him without providing everything we need to accomplish the task. All he wants is our availability and all we need to finish the work is Jesus. If we do what Jesus asks us to do, the oil and the flour will not run out. 15 The widow went and did as Elijah had told her, and all of them had enough food for many days. 16 As the Lord had promised through Elijah, the bowl did not run out of flour nor did the jar run out of oil.—1 Kings 17:15, 16 (GNT)
41 “Then the king will say to those on his left, ‘Get away from me! God has cursed you! Go into everlasting fire that was prepared for the devil and his angels! 42 I was hungry, and you gave me nothing to eat. I was thirsty, and you gave me nothing to drink. 43 I was a stranger, and you didn’t take me into your homes. I needed clothes, and you didn’t give me anything to wear. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t take care of me.’ 44 “They, too, will ask, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or as a stranger or in need of clothes or sick or in prison and didn’t help you?’ 45 “He will answer them, ‘I can guarantee this truth: Whatever you failed to do for one of my brothers or sisters, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you failed to do for me.’ Matthew 25:41-45 (God’s Word Translation)
I cannot read these verses without being reminded of how little I do for others. True, my resources are very limited, but it is also true that if we have a home in which to live, food for today and tomorrow, and one extra set of clothing, we are richer than 80% of the world’s population.
How much is too much? How little is too little? These are questions we all need to talk to God about and let Him answer those questions for us. I think how we receive those answers from God will go a long way in showing us where our hearts and our treasures lie. What would happen if we really and truthfully depended on God to supply our every need? Could we, would we do it? The apostles did. 7 He called the twelve apostles, sent them out two by two, and gave them authority over evil spirits. 8 He instructed them to take nothing along on the trip except a walking stick. They were not to take any food, a traveling bag, or money in their pockets. 9 They could wear sandals but could not take along a change of clothes. Mark 6: 7-9 (God’s Word Translation)
I am probably going too far with this (something that I usually do when I am researching and meditating on topics), but I sometimes feel conviction when I open my closet door and see clothes hanging there that I haven’t worn this year (and probably not last year, either). And, even though I have a very small refrigerator and pantry, I have food that I could share. Especially this time of year with the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons approaching, as well as the cold weather that is coming. Material things, in and of themselves, are neutral, but our attitudes, thoughts, and our ultimate actions regarding those things are not neutral.