March 19, 2021
Nothing Left to Give
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"But Jesus said, ‘You feed them.'" Mark 6:37a (NLT)
If you're like me, maybe you've uttered these words on more than one occasion: "If they ask me to do one more thing..."
"They" could be anyone trying to add one more thing to your plate. Anyone needing more than you feel like you can give.
This happened recently to my husband and me. Our schedules were already packed, and all we wanted was a little rest from the rushing, but a married couple we knew were struggling and reached out to us for help. It wasn't easy, but we rearranged some things and managed to have a few conversations with them.
The result was nothing short of miraculous. They went from talking about divorce to making plans for their future. My husband and I walked away with our faith reinvigorated, amazed at what God had done. Despite our empty tanks God had worked through us.
Rest is a necessity and actually something God desires for us. However, there are also ordained circumstances when He has something else in mind.
The feeding of the 5,000 in the Gospel of Mark is a familiar story to me. However, this time when I read it, the events right before caught my attention.
In Mark 6, Jesus sent His disciples on a mission: "So the disciples went out, telling everyone they met to repent of their sins and turn to God. And they cast out many demons and healed many sick people, anointing them with olive oil ... The apostles returned to Jesus from their ministry tour and told him all they had done and taught. Then Jesus said, "‘Let's go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile'" (Mark 6:12-13, 30-31, NLT, emphasis added).
I'm sure the disciples were thinking, rest – finally! But just when the disciples found a comfortable spot to nap, the crowds found them. The Bible says "... Jesus had compassion ..." for the people and began to teach them (v. 34).
Interestingly, the passage doesn't say whether the disciples felt any sympathy for the people. Well, at least they didn't have to do anything ... or so they thought.
After Jesus finished teaching the crowd, it was late, dinnertime. Then, He says the unthinkable to the disciples, "You feed them" (v. 37).
Let's put ourselves in the disciples' shoes. I would have been beside myself with a million thoughts running through my mind. Why would Jesus ask this of me? I just accomplished all of these things for Him, and now He wants me to do this?
Jesus may not be asking me to feed a crowd, but I realize I have had my own "You feed them" moments, too.
These opportunities have been disguised as unwelcomed interruptions to my plans: a slow cashier who looked troubled, a friend needing help at an inopportune time and a coworker wanting to talk when I was slammed at work. And yes, even when that couple reached out to us for help.
When I feel like I have nothing left to give, God does. This is a beautiful thing about the Christian life. When we are weak, He is strong. When God asks something of us, we just have to say "Yes." The rest is up to Him, and that's when the amazing can happen.
People are fed. Our faith is built. Maybe, even a marriage can be saved.
"And they all ate and were satisfied" (Mark 6:42, NASB, emphasis added). The crowd walked away full. The disciples did too ... in more ways than one.
Dear God, help me to know when You want me to do something for someone else. Even when I'm tired, I know Your strength is made perfect in my weakness. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Colossians 1:11, "We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy ...". (NLT)
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REFLECT AND RESPOND:
How do you know when God wants you to do something for someone else? How can you make yourself more available to God's opportunities for you, even when you feel like you have nothing left to give?
We'd love to hear from you! Share your thoughts in the comments.
© 2021 by Anitha Abraham. All rights reserved.