The Lie of Scarcity and The Bread of Life
Last week my friend Amy brought us a powerful message about impossible needs. We can gaze at the world around us and see people starving for basic life necessities: food, water, safety, jobs, education, protection… the list goes on and on. The needs go on and on.
And like she shared, seeing all of those unmet needs can paralyze us into believing that this is an impossible mission, so much so, that we miss the greater need -- our Bread of Life.
But let’s be honest, we don’t have to stand in a sea of refugees to have this lie wrap around our neck and strangle us -- a lie of scarcity, a lies that tangles logic and emotion in order to convince us that there isn’t enough, that He isn’t enough.
It could be a marriage that has slowly unravelled over disagreement after disagreement. It could be someone you love who is trapped under the merciless fist of addiction and every opportunity for help has been avoided or ignored. It could be a child that forsakes everything you cherish and you watch them race toward a cliff that they have no idea is coming. It could be a friendship that suddenly feels awkward and confusing, and they blame you despite all your attempts to restore. It could be a new classroom or a new job or a new baby that feels impossible to connect to or understand.
Or it could be a crowd of 5,000 people all hungry and staring at you.
Regardless of the situation you find yourself in, Jesus stood on the shore of the Sea of Galilee about two thousand years ago and demonstrated how He responds to the impossible.
Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick. Now when it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves.”
But Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” They said to him, “We have only five loaves here and two fish.”
And he said, “Bring them here to me.”
Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children. (Matthew 14:13-21, ESV)
Jesus is in the process of withdrawing to a desolate, quiet place. But instead of finding that, He finds a swarm of needy, sick people. He doesn’t collapse in frustration. He doesn’t stay in the boat. Instead He feels compassion and begins healing them.
And as He tends to this flock, darkness approaches. Stomachs begin to growl in hunger.
And the disciples? They only see an impossible situation.
“There is absolutely no way.”
“We don’t have enough.”
“There is no way this situation can change for the better.”
“Send them away, this isn’t my problem anymore.”
Sadly, I have heard similar statements come out of my mouth at times.
Why? Because they forgot Who was with them, just like I sometimes forget Who is with me.
Jesus tries to point their heart in the right direction but they continue to only see the scarcity. They only see what they don’t have. They look at their five loaves and glance right over the Bread of Life standing before them.
So He tells them -- just like He tells us -- “Bring them here to Me.”
Only in His hands do impossible situations because possible.
Only in His hands do shattered marriages find healing.
Only in His hands do the chains break.
Only in His hands do the prodigals come home.
Only in His hands do enemies become friends.
Only in His hands do hungry souls find the Bread of Life all they will ever need.
Out of what doesn’t seem like enough, God makes it enough.
And unless we believe that we serve a God of abundance — a God who is enough — we will always walk away starving and send others away hungry. We will miss the miracle of seeing God provide because we don’t understand that God is always providing Himself.
To the employee standing in the middle of impossible people and impossible workloads -- God will take your acts of kindness and hard work and MULTIPLY them until they are enough.
To the mom who is sleep-deprived and overwhelmed with constant, impossible needs -- God will take your nose-wiping and story-reading and praise-singing and MULTIPLY it until it is somehow enough.
To the student with an impossible dream and impossible deadlines -- God will take your humble beginnings and honest questions and MULTIPLY it until it is somehow enough.
It was never about the bread and fish, friends. It was about bringing what we have, placing it into the hands of our Bread of Life, and standing back as He defeats the lies of scarcity. This should give us courage. This should give us boldness. This should give us strength.
Would you join me in declaring that we will be disciples who see impossible situations as opportunities for the Bread of Life to fall down from heaven and satisfy? Would you join me in praying that we will be disciples who believe in the theology of enough and not feel the need to hoard or hide or fear. Would you stand with me and extend your hands to a God who held nothing back from us so that we could thankfully hold nothing back from Him?
“And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.” (Matthew 14:20-21, ESV)
Kaysie Strickland is nothing fancy. Jesus found her in a mess and won her with His Words. She is passionate about words + actions proclaiming the reckless restoration available in the gospel. She is married to her best friend on earth, drinks lots of coffee + tea, constantly rearranges the furniture in her house, loves gardening and DIY projects, enjoys long conversations over coffee, and loves all the words. She and her husband just had their little boy in February. You can find her on Instagram | Facebook| Twitter | Blog