“Tell everyone to sit down,” Jesus said. So they all sat down on the grassy slopes. (The men alone numbered about 5,000.) Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks to God, and distributed them to the people. Afterward he did the same with the fish. And they all ate as much as they wanted. (John 6:10-11)
Relate: My dad played a cruel trick on me. It was really just a clash of cultures but my dad was the only one who really knew what was going on. Rather than solve my dilemma, he just sat back and enjoyed the joke nobody else understood.
You see, when I was in high school dad was working with bringing Vietnamese refugees into America. Over the course of five years he helped bring in over six thousand refugees. He did this working through our church and also using another local church as sponsor. One of those families had invited us over for dinner. It wasn’t the first time for us, but it was the first to be invited by this family. They had been in the States for maybe a week tops at that point. I loved Vietnamese food. (Still do) Back in high school I could also put down quite a bit of food. (Alas, no longer) I was also taught to clean my plate. We were taught to eat everything put before us and we were not allowed to leave the table until it was all gone.
In Vietnamese culture it is rude to clean your plate. Doing so is like saying the host had done a poor job. They did not prepare enough or offer enough to their guests. No host would want that shame.
Can you picture it? Here I am doing my best to just keep eating but every time I get close to the end, the lady of the house who is serving us all would just put more before me. At first I’m loving it. Then I’m practically bursting. Still I soldier on. Around the same time I learned through my health class that I was eating an average of about 7,000 calories a day. That’s three times the normal average so you can imagine my capacity to keep going. Here I am trying to be polite and everyone else is in awe of how much I’m eating. Finally my dad leans over and whispers in my ear, “Just put your napkin over the plate. You’re done.” Those words were like sweet music to my ears. I’d had all I wanted and then some. It wasn’t until the ride home that he clued me in. He thought it was funny. Fortunately for him I was way to gorged to seriously consider bodily harm.
React: Maybe they were a bit different but if I was in that crowd when the disciples started passing out food, I’m pretty sure I would have had them come around for seconds… and thirds… and… I’ll never pass up free food and its a fact that I will eat more at a buffet than if I’m paying per dish. I will get my money’s worth. I could picture myself sitting there with a group of like minded guys trying to see how far we could push this miracle. Times might have changed but human nature doesn’t. Not really. We know for a fact the people realized that this was a miracle and not just a hidden supply of food because they chased Jesus all the way through the wilderness to the other side of the lake in hopes that he would do it again.
God isn’t into us getting just enough to scrape by. He is a God of abundance and He has called us to a life more abundant. He has in store all that we could ever want. He has, He is, more than enough.
God, help me to move past a poverty mentality in the things of You. Help me to realize that You have more available for me than I could ever imagine. Help me to realize that You will give me all of You that I could want, and help me to desire more.