Have you ever felt depleted? Depleted physically, emotionally and financially? I know I have! Even on the good days, by the end of the day, we can feel exhausted and bone weary tired. I admit it’s easier to weather tiredness when it’s been a good day, but what about on those days when you feel like you simply have no more left to give? Those days when you received bad news or there is just not quite enough in your bank account to make it through the month. ever been there?
Perhaps you are doing okay right now, yet you don’t have a lot of wiggle room to share and the needs around you are so “ginormous” that you know there is no way you can ever begin to meet even a tenth of those needs.
Ever been there? That place where you simply know that you are not enough? How can we move beyond those feelings to make a difference in our world? A world that is hungry physically, mentally and spiritually.
I believe that our times of greatest need are also when we can give the most significantly. You see when we don’t have enough, we can no longer rely on ourselves and our own solutions, we must bring our needs to Jesus. That is exactly where the disciples found themselves that day on the hillside with Jesus. They had come there to get away for a much needed time of rest. They had been ministering and walking with Jesus as He healed the sick and spoke to the people about His Father’s kingdom and they had not had time to really rest. But rest was not to be found because the crowd had followed them there and Jesus had taught the crowd all day long. It was time to eat, time to go home and prepare for another day, yet the people lingered. The disciples knew the people must be getting hungry. Their own stomaches were growling with hunger too. They also knew they were in a remote place with nowhere for the people to buy food. What could they do? They started by approaching Jesus with the problem. That’s a good place to start, but their solution was not Jesus’ solution. Their solution came from a purely human viewpoint. (I’ve been guilty of coming from a purely human viewpoint more than once!) They were trying to figure out how to solve the problem on their own and knew that humanly speaking, they simply did not have the resources to feed that many people so they approached Jesus. “Jesus, send the people away…” they said.
Oh how many times that has been my approach too. I have approached Jesus with the very same response, “Jesus, the need is too great. I can’t do this. Send the people away or send someone else to fill this need. I barely have enough resources to take care of myself and my family.”
But Jesus had a different idea. He asked the disciples, “What do you have?” Jesus knew the great need, but He also knew the great resources of an amazing miracle working Father. Jesus asked the disciples to see what they did have. So they did and they found one boy with a small lunch, definitely not enough, but when Jesus asks you to do something you do it. The boy brought his small lunch to Jesus. He gave Jesus all he had and Jesus blessed it. You know the end of the story. That small lunch ended up feeding 5000 people that day and there were 12 baskets of leftovers. It was more than enough in the hands of Jesus.
Lately I’ve been once again feeling a little depleted. It’s been a very busy time. I don’t have a car right now and my resources are a little low. I realized the other day that I was responding from a depleted frame of mind. I was thinking, “God, just make everything go away and let me have some vacation time. I don’t want to respond to one more person. I don’t want to give right now. Don’t you see that I have needs too? I just want to hibernate for awhile. I don’t have much to share.”
In this very state, I heard God speak to my heart, “Is that your human perspective or is that my perspective?” That’s when I knew I needed to rethink and renew myself in God’s presence. I needed to simply bring what I did have to God and then allow Him to bless it, break it and feed the people He was sending my way. No, I don’t have enough. I’m simply a beggar looking for food, but I know who does have enough. God does! When I give Him my meagre amount, He gives me more than enough to share. As I once heard said, “I’m simply a beggar shining the light so that another beggar can find food.” And you know what? When I share and shine that light, I am no longer a beggar, but I am God’s child. I am a daughter of the king of kings. I have more than enough to share.
PARENT OR GRANDPARENT PRAYER:
When I’m feeling depleted, less than enough, remind me that I don’t have to be enough because you are enough. You have never asked me to give more than I have, You have simply asked me to share with you what I do have. I know that in your hands the meagre amount that I give is more than enough. The needs in our world and yes, even in my own little world are so enormous right now that it seems overwhelming, but today I simply give you what I have. I give you everything, my resources, my joys, my problems, my health issues, everything and I say, “It’s yours Lord. Take it and use it for your glory.” I also ask that you would bring physical and spiritual healing to friends and family members who need that touch from you right now. Lord, as I share may others catch that same strength to share because you are always enough. Show me how I can teach my kids, grandkids and others the beauty of giving everything to you, the beauty of simply sharing what we do have. Amen
WHAT CAN YOU SHARE?
* How about a hug and listening ear?
* Your kids can share hugs too and toys or a favorite snack with a friend.
* Share some canned goods with a local food bank.
* Some places you can round up the dollar amount on your purchase to give to specific cause.
* Share cookies or a loaf of bread with a neighbor.
* A glass of ice water or lemonade with a neighbor when you see him mowing his lawn.
* Share an extra offering at church – it’s amazing how our dollars stretch when we reach out and give to God and others.
* An offer to babysit or swap babysitting with a friend.
* Your time, by serving your community or church. Volunteering doesn’t have to be a huge commitment and it an be fun as you serve with others.
* Share a laugh with your family. My granddaughter has been sharing jokes with us. Just simple one liner jokes such as “What do you get when you cross a porcupine with a slug? A slowpoke!” These jokes came at a time when our family much needed some cheering up. I am so thankful for humor!
* Don’t forget to ask God what He wants you to share. Then step out in faith and do so. He can use it no matter how small.
SHARE A STORY: Jesus Feeds A Crowd – John 6:3-14
One day Jesus was teaching a BIG crowd of people. The people loved Jesus. They listened to Him all day. It was time to eat and they were very hungry. (Rub tummy.) Jesus’ helpers said, “There’s nothing here to eat, Jesus, send the people away so that they can go buy food.”
But Jesus said, “Why don’t you give them something to eat?”
Jesus’ helpers asked, “What are we supposed to feed them?”
Jesus said, “Go and see what you have.”
They found a boy who had brought his lunch. He only had five loaves of bread and two fish in his lunch. That’s not very much, not enough for a big crowd! It was certainly not enough to share, but he gave it to Jesus anyway.
Jesus took the five loaves of bread and the fish. He thanked God for the food; then He broke the loaves and fish into pieces and His helpers gave the food to the people. Guess what happened? There was more than enough food. Everyone ate all they wanted and there were even twelve baskets of food left over! Jesus fed 5000 people that day with just a five loaves of bread and two fish. WOW! That’s amazing! Jesus can do anything. A boy shared his lunch and Jesus made it enough to feed everyone.
Jesus loved the people. He didn’t want to send them away hungry. He wanted to give them food to eat. Jesus loves you too. Following Jesus means we can share what we have with others because Jesus will make it enough. Jesus’ helpers didn’t think they had enough to share, but Jesus asked them to see what they did have. When they gave it to Jesus, it was more than enough. What are some things that we can share? I like to share food and books with other people. What do you like to share? I’m glad we can share and I’m glad that God blesses what we share with others. Jesus loves you and wants to give you enough to share with others.
Who loves you? Jesus loves me. What can you do? I can share because Jesus gives me what I need.
MEMORIZE: Matthew 4:19 ERV – (Hold hands like holding a book.)
“Jesus said” – (Sign for Jesus – touch fingers to palm of other hand and vice versa.)
“Come,” – (Beckon with hands.)
Follow” – (Walk in place.)
“Me,“ – (Point upwards.)
Thank you for loving me and giving me good things that I can share with others. Show me what I can share this week. As I share, may others know that you love them and are amazing. I love you. Amen
KNOW: Following Jesus means I can share what I have with others.
TALK ABOUT: Jesus is amazing! He can do anything.
ASK: Who loves you? Jesus loves me. He wants me to give what I have to Him. What can you do? I can share.
FUN IDEAS FOR THIS WEEK
* Share something with someone this week – cookies with a neighbor, food for your local food bank, a toy with a friend. Remember to ask Jesus to bless what you share with others.
* Count! Count steps, blocks, baskets – whatever you can think of. As you count, talk about the 12 baskets of food left over when Jesus fed the crowd. Say, “Jesus can do amazing things!” ASK: What amazing thing is Jesus doing in my life? with what I give Him?