Today’s Scripture: John 6
Yankee’s legend Yogi Berra passed away in 2015. An 18-time all-star, Berra appeared in 14 World Series as a member of the Yankees and won 10 of them. Once, after a game, he went to his favorite pizza parlor. The cook asked the all-star catcher if he wanted his pizza cut into six or eight pieces. Yogi replied, “You had better make it six; I can’t eat eight.”
Perhaps Jesus broke down the miracle of feeding 5,000 men into bite-sized pieces so the disciples could understand the deeper issues of faith contained in the miracle. John refers to the miracles as “signs” designed to teach spiritual truth to the saints. Just as the need or crisis increases, so does the miraculous power and glory of Christ in order to meet those needs.
In John 6, Jesus challenges Phillip with a question: “Where shall we buy bread?” But then John informs his readers that Jesus said this to test Phillip. We are like Phillip, faced with an impossible situation and asked an impossible question.
In John 6:8, Andrew finds a small boy who is willing to share his lunch, five barley loaves and two fish. But that’s all he has, so Andrew too despairs, saying, “What are these among so many?”
Now Jesus teaches them a lesson. He instructs the disciples to direct the crowds to sit. Jesus then takes the loaves and gives thanks. Within this Scripture, it’s important to note the lesson that Jesus taught about being thankful, namely to be thankful for what you have. Jesus gives thanks for the five loaves and two fish. The miracle hasn’t happened yet, but he offers thanksgiving for the blessing that is at hand.
Jesus knows full well what is going to come, but his disciples and the expectant crowd don’t. All they see is Jesus offering thanks for a meal. By the way, that thing we do before meals when we pray is “returning thanks” not “blessing the food.” The food is already God’s blessing for us. We are simply returning thanks to God for his provision.
Gratitude is more an action than an emotion. Jesus didn’t talk about feeling thankful. He pronounced thanks for God’s provision. The very act of expressing thankfulness makes us more aware of the blessings we receive.
Besides the principle of thankfulness, there is a principle of abundance. Abundance is not a direct result of thankfulness. Rather, we receive abundantly through God’s good pleasure, and abundant blessings come in his own time. God’s abundance comes in unexpected ways.
God’s abundance is not to be wasted. Notice Jesus’ instruction in Verse 12. He tells his disciples to gather up the fragments so nothing might be wasted. Not wasting (conserving) what we have is a fundamental principle of being thankful for the gift of abundance. God calls us to be wise in our use of his blessings, whether they be in the form of time, finances, abilities or something material.
What can God do with your ordinary gifts? Oh, child of God, what is in your lunch box?
In Verse 11, Jesus took the loaves and gave thanks to his Father for what he had. We as Christians are so blessed and should repeatedly give thanks to God for all we have. Thank GOD today!
Heavenly Father, thank you that in your grace, you sent the Lord Jesus Christ to be our living bread from heaven. Thank you that in him is life, abundant life—eternal life, and that in him I have all that I need to sustain my soul. Help me to never forget that all good things come from you, and keep me from taking your gracious provision for granted. Instill in each of us a heart that is truly grateful and fill our mouths with praise and thanksgiving for our daily food. Amen.
This post was written by Gary Schnabel, a regular contributor to the LivingItOut Bible Study.
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