Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Reality and Resources



I have been taking our ministry staff here at the Gaylord E-Free Church through the only miracle of Jesus that is recorded in all 4 Gospels - the feeding of the multitude with the five loaves and 2 fish. From this miracle we see many principles that apply to doing ministry today. A few weeks back I wrote a blog post on principle #1 - the fact that before we can pass out the fish and the bread (exemplifying doing ministry today) we must first develop a heart of compassion for people. Jesus certainly showed this in Matthew 14:13-15.

But as the hour grew late and the disciples encouraged Jesus to send the crowds away into nearby villages to buy food. Jesus tested Philip in John 6:5 asking him where they could buy food for so many people. He asked Philip because Philip was from the area and knew that no such place existed. Philip responded in verse 7 saying, "even if we had 8 months worth of wages we would not be able to buy enough food for every person to even have a little." Philip could not look past the reality of his problem.

Jesus had asked Andrew to scurry through the crowd and see what food he could find. Andrew brought back a "good news - bad news" report. The good news was that he had been able to find one boy's lunch consisting of 5 small loaves of bread and a couple of tiny fish. The bad news is seen in Andrew then adding, "But what good is this for so many people!" Andrew could not look past his resources.

Philip and Andrew both missed a striking fact. Yes, the reality of their problem was huge. Yes, their resources were very minimal. But they had Jesus!! And how often do we make the same mistake today? It is easy in church work to constantly focus on the reality of our problems, and we certainly have enough of those, don't we? Gaylord E-free has problems as does every church. But let's not put our focus on the reality of our problems Let's put our focus on Jesus who can turn obstacles into opportunities.

It is also easy in church work to constantly focus on our limited resources, and we do have some limitations here at Gaylord E-Free when it comes to resources, especially in a struggling northern Michigan economy. But let's not put our focus on our limited resources. Let's put our focus on our God who owns the cattle on a thousand hills and the wealth in every mine. Let's focus on the God who can take a little and use it to accomplish a lot.

From the miracle of the feeding of the 5,000 we learn that our thoughts can't be focused on the reality of our problems or on our limited resources. To effectively do ministry today our focus must be on Jesus. As long as we have Jesus we have everything we need to pass out "the fish and the bread" to our community.

9 comments:

Jacob said...

Scott,

Do you feel that it is easy for us to hide under the umbrella of "WISDOM" or understanding to not step out there in faith?

Example: When churches set up a yearly budget...they often base numbers off of previous years trends...and not off of vision and direction...where is faith in that? Does faith often look "unwise"? Didn't it look crazy when Abram left his hometown to go "who knows where" with his whole family. Did Moses look a little crazy heading toward Pharaoh when he was 80? Faith is the confidence of things hoped for... not based on facts, charts, or trends. I think those things are great, don't get me wrong...but I wonder if they hinder us from really stepping out there and seeing God feed our 5000 with what little we bring to Him...

Just a thought...

Jacob

Pastor Scott said...

Hi Jacob - I think there is a delicate balance between reality and faith. In the feeding of the 5,000 - the disciples saw only the reality of their problem and lack of resources and had no faith in what Jesus could do with even those limited resources. I think vision should always drive budget rather than budget driving vision. However, we need to be sure that we are regularly on our faces before the Lord, hearing from Him, so that our vision really is from God and not from our own minds or passions.

gail wetmore said...

Beth Moore's "Believing God" bible study series has a 5 point Statement of Faith that we memorized.
1. God is who He says He is.
2. God can do what He says He can do.
3. I am who God says I am.
4. I can do all things through Christ who strenghtens me.
5. God's Word is alive and active in me.
I love this because it helps remind me how big God is, how I fit in and to just keep going!

powerplaymom said...

I love your ability to keep it simple. Thank you.

Pastor Scott said...

Those are awesome statements, Gail! Amen!

Pastor Scott said...

Thanks, powerplaymom! I appreciate the kind words!

Pastor Scott said...

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www.folkslisten2.blogspot.com

Bill said...

I love the conclusion on this teaching! Thanks for coming to Gaylord! We are blessed.


From the miracle of the feeding of the 5,000 we learn that our thoughts can't be focused on the reality of our problems or on our limited resources. To effectively do ministry today our focus must be on Jesus. As long as we have Jesus we have everything we need to pass out "the fish and the bread" to our community.

Bill

Pastor Scott said...

Thanks for the encouragement, Bill! Blessings to you!!