Monday, August 20, 2018

There Is Enough

Matthew 14:12-21
August 19, 2018

5000 people is a lot of people.
It’s a crowd. A big crowd.
Actually, the biggest city in the area was
might have been around 7,000 people,
so if this hillside picnic were a city,
it would have been the second largest in the area.
Christ Feeding the 5000Eric Feather
That’s a pretty big event.

Now, I think that promoters and event coordinators and disciples 
then and now can agree on one thing:
you don’t try to feed a crowd of 5000,
at least not all at once, not without selling tickets ahead of time,
or charging up front, or sponsorship, or a big group of volunteers
and definitely not without some advanced planning.

So when Jesus asks the disciples 
where they’re going to get food for all these people,
Phillip has a reasonable response
he says “we don’t’ have enough.”
We don’t have it, don’t have access to it,
don’t know where to get it,
don’t know who would give us enough
to feed all these people.
There is not enough.

Now lots of things have changed in this world
since Jesus time on that hill,
but humanity really hasn’t changed much.
And humanity tends to think that there’s not enough.
Even if there is enough now, we worry that there won’t
be enough later.
There is not enough.
Those words have been repeated and repeated
over and over again in our world throughout time.

People who calculate these things
say that there is enough food produced in this world,
so that every person in the world could eat 3000 calories every day.
But still, around 815 million people go to bed hungry.
We’re fortunate that there is not a production problem,
But there is a distribution problem.
And at the root of it, is this fear:
There is not enough.

This is the story that the world tells:
corporations, politicians, developers, insurance companies, 
commercials, TV shows, there is just not enough for everyone.
Not enough food, money, land, jobs, time, doctors, medicine,
electricity, water, whatever else can be counted and held back.
We hear it so much, it’s repeated and insinuated,
and drilled into us and the fear is in us and drives us.
There is not enough.

This is part of many people’s issue with immigrants,
with people of color, with those who are poor.
If those other people get, there won’t be enough for me.
There is not enough.

And at its root, this principle of scarcity is a lack of trust in God.
It says there are no gifts to be given because God doesn’t give.
The world of scarcity tells us that we’re on our own.
We only have what you can get for yourselves.
We only get whatever we scrap and fight and work for.
Only what we deserve. What we have we’ve earned.
Because there is not enough. There will never be enough.

The story we’re telling today
is the same story that the disciples told.
There is not enough to feed those 5000 people, Jesus.
Send them away.

But in the middle of that story of scarcity
being told on that hillside in front of that crowd,
One boy came up and said, “I have enough!”
Even though all he had was five loaves and two fish.
And even though Andrew only saw the scarcity and said,
“What’s so little food when you’re talking about so many people?”
It was still enough.

And Jesus took what the boy had to share
he blessed it, he broke it and gave it away.
With complete trust in what he and God were going to do.

Now here is where the mystery happens.
Without a food committee, without making
an announcement of a pot luck, without tickets,
without any planning whatsoever,
there was enough for everyone in that crowd.

 Now the story is not clear on how it happened.
Some people read this and see that Jesus made more bread
and more fish right there. Enough for all to eat and more,
ex nihilo, out of nothing.
Jesus and God produced food where there was none
and the people had more than enough to eat.
Now that is a miracle of God no doubt.

But some people look at this and see something else.
they see that Jesus brought the Spirit of God to rest
on a community of 5000 people
who were inspired to trust and share all that they had.

A normal crowd of people who traveled with their own provisions,
taking whatever they had just bought at the market,
whatever they were taking along with them for their journey,
whatever they were going to eat themselves
whatever they were there to sell to this big crowd,
and they didn’t keep it for themselves.

They brought it out of their tunics and pockets
and baskets and shopping bags and let it all go
they brought it all out and they shared it
with the people around them who had nothing to eat.
And there was more than enough for everyone.
And even this, I think, is an incredible miracle.

Whichever way you see it,
Jesus’ miracles are never just miracles.
They always show us something about God.
And with that picnic meal miracle,
Jesus showed that the world is filled with God’s blessings.
We can trust in God’s abundance.
Even when all your senses tell you there isn’t enough.
There is enough.

The way that Jesus came into everyone’s life on
that hillside is the same way Jesus comes into ours.
Whenever we feel nervous, or we’re not sure we’ll make it.
Whenever we worry about the future,
Whenever all we see ahead is disaster,
whenever we’re stingy and selfish and not willing to share,
Jesus tells us, “there is enough.”

With that meal on that hillside,
and this meal that we eat every week,
Jesus is slowly reordering the world’s reality.
Not just in our stomachs, and in our churches,
Jesus is talking about the economy, the government,
the world, and our hearts.
There is enough: enough food, enough money,
enough space, enough time, enough attention, enough love.

Jesus shows us and this crowd the real story
God’s grace, God’s gifts, God’s love for everyone.
Jesus shows us and feeds us the real story
about God’s abundance.

What Jesus is saying is that when people
come together in faith and trust in God,
there is nothing that can’t happen.
There is enough.

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