My pastor once said, “God created us in His own image and ever since we have been trying to return the favor.” Most of us really don’t think that God is like us, but we sure do act like it. When we wonder if we will have enough, we underestimate His power and provision in our lives.
Even after the miraculous feeding of the five thousand, the disciples found themselves in a very similar situation.
“In those days, when there was again a large crowd and they had nothing to eat, Jesus called His disciples and said to them, ‘I feel compassion for the people because they have remained with me now three days and have nothing to eat. If I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way; and some of them have come from a great distance.’ And His disciples answered Him, ‘Where will anyone be able to find enough bread here in this desolate place to satisfy these people?’” Mark 8:1-4 (NASB version, emphasis mine)
I did say that Jesus had already fed the five thousand with twelve baskets left over, right? The disciples were still consciously or unconsciously putting limits on Jesus.
“And He was asking them, ‘How many loaves do you have?’ And they said ‘Seven.’ And He directed the people to sit on the ground; and taking the seven loaves, He gave thanks and broke them, and started giving them to His disciples to serve to them, and they served them to the people. They also had a few small fish; and after He had blessed them, He ordered these to be served as well. And they ate and were satisfied; and they picked up seven large baskets full of what was left over of the broken pieces.” Mark 8:5-8 (NASB version, emphasis mine)
Rewinding back to the Old Testament and the book of Ruth, we see more evidence of our God and His compassionate abundance. Did you know that the story of Ruth and Boaz is a picture or foreshadowing of Jesus as our Kinsman Redeemer? Ruth, a widow, started gleaning in the field that “just happened to be” owned by Boaz, a wealthy, close relative of the family. Ruth was gleaning so she and her mother-in-law, Naomi could survive, but God had much bigger plans than survival. God’s plan started to unfold when Boaz took a special interest in Ruth.
“Then Boaz said to his servant who was in charge of the reapers, ‘Whose young woman is this?’ The servant in charge of the reapers answered and said, ‘She is the young Moabite woman who returned with Naomi from the land of Moab. And she said, ‘Please let me glean and gather after the reapers among the sheaves.’ Thus she came and has remained from the morning until now; she has been sitting in the house for a little while.’” Ruth 2:4-7 (NASB)
So, Ruth asks Boaz’s servant if she could glean in the field. It doesn’t get much more humbling than that.
“At mealtime Boaz said to her, ‘Come here that you may eat of the bread and dip your piece of bread in the vinegar.’ So she sat beside the reapers; and he served her roasted grain, and she ate and was satisfied and had some left.” Ruth 2:14 (NASB, emphasis mine)
Doesn’t that scene remind you of the Last Supper when Jesus washes the disciples’ feet? Ruth must have felt pretty awkward to have Boaz serve her and we know Jesus’ disciples felt awkward while He washed their feet because our friend Peter, (the extravert) let everyone know! It’s only natural that we as sinners find it difficult to believe and receive God’s extravagant blessings for us as well.
If you are familiar with the rest of the Ruth’s story, then you know that Boaz marries her and they have a son who has a son who fathers the future King David! What an amazing story of God’s abundant redemption. Ruth hoped to glean behind Boaz’s servants but God honored her wildly through her son who “just happened to be” in the line of David and our Savior, Jesus!
One last bread story. Believe it or not, after the feeding of the five thousand, the crowd demanded another sign.
“’Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, “HE GAVE THEM BREAD OUT OF HEAVEN TO EAT.”’ Jesus then said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.’ Then they said to Him, ‘Lord, always give us this bread.’ Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst….” John 6:31-35 (NASB)
The crowd asked for bread when they had the Bread of Life standing in front of them. Jesus wanted to give them so much more. But we are not much different.
We also want to know that we will have enough. Enough money. Enough time. Enough energy. As Christians, we have the Holy Spirit living inside of us, the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead, and we are still begging for bread. The Bread of Life redeemed us long ago and we are still battling guilt. Why do we wonder if we are doing enough when Jesus said “it is finished!”? When our eyes are focused on the law, we will always wonder if we have done enough. When our eyes are fixed on our Savior, we will recognize that His sacrifice is more than enough.
“The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more,” Romans 5:20 (NASB)
Let’s make the abundance shift and praise our powerful and abundant Father, who extravagantly blesses us, His children with more than enough.