There’s enough. Already. Right here. There is enough.
But Jesus, there are 5,000 men, and likely 2-3x that many women and children. There is enough.
But Jesus, we are out in an isolated part of the country without resources. There is enough here.
But Jesus, all these thousands and thousands of people are hungry. There is enough.
But Jesus, shouldn’t we send them off to find some villages where there might be food? There is enough here.
But Jesus, it’s getting late, we’re running out of time for them to find food. There is enough here.
But Jesus, all we have are five loaves of bread and a couple of fish. There’s enough.
But Jesus, we’ve done the math. 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish won’t feed 15,000 – 20,000 people.
And Jesus took “the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples” and said, Here you go. Go feed them. Because there’s enough. Yes, there is. There IS enough.
We had our annual council retreat a couple of weeks ago. One of the things we did was to try to describe this congregation. What images come to mind? What is an accurate way to look at LCM?
Lots of things went up on the white board, all of which seemed accurate. Then Hannah Snyder got up, walked to the white board, and said, “There are two themes that are showing up here.” Then she took a blue marker and circled a bunch of descriptors. Then she took a green marker and circled the rest.
Suddenly, it was obvious to us that everything that we have blue images and green images. Those items in blue were descriptions of LCM based on images given by the world around us. These were the things that describe what we as a congregation we don’t have enough of. The things in blue included such images as:
we don’t have enough money, not enough people, not enough commitment, not enough kids, not enough involvement, not enough influence.
Not enough. We’ve done the math, Jesus. 5 loaves and 2 fish won’t cut it. The blue things are what we lack. There’s not enough. These are the things we worry about, that cause us to be afraid. The blue things cause us to turn inward and cling to the little we have.
Just as obvious were the items in green. These were descriptions of LCM based on the image of God.
The care expressed,
the community experienced,
the service given in the neighborhood,
the love shown—even to unlikely people,
the compassion revealed in unexpected ways.
The green list was the image of God right here and right now. The image of God as a congregational community bearing the name of Jesus Christ. There is enough. We are enough. Here you go, Jesus says to us as he hands us bread and fish. Go feed them. Give it away. There’s enough.
The disciples, in considering only the blue limitations, were wrong. Jesus called them to imagine the green possibilities for distributing food for a hungry crowd so that there was enough for everyone. Matthew doesn’t describe how this happened. Here, Matthew describes Jesus handing the loaves and fish to the disciples and telling them to go feed the crowd. He says that in the image of God, in the vision of God, in the reign of God, there is enough right here already. The green list means we have enough. Now go do it. Share it.
I guess we can look at only the blue things—the scarcity, the lack, the weakness, the limitations and how we can’t feed 20,000 people. We can bemoan all the things we can’t do. That’s usually how we view ourselves personally, how we view ourselves as a congregation, how we view ourselves as a world. We keep telling ourselves there is never enough. We always seem to need just a bit more. We will compare ourselves to others around us and realize someone else has more than we do; so obviously we don’t have enough.
God looks at us and tells us that we have all the green things—the abundance, the generosity, the imagination, the compassion, the care, the love—and God says to us, “Yes there is enough. Right here. There is enough.” Here we go. We can go feed them.
We have all the love we need to love the world.
We have all the generosity we need to be generous to the world.
We have all the compassion we need to walk with the world.
We have all forgiveness, grace, mercy we need to reveal God to the world.
We have enough. Right now. There is plenty to go around. We take that which Jesus has already given to us and we share it with the crowds. “And all ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full.” There is enough.