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The Feeding of the Five Thousand

(66)

Sermon shared by Alan Perkins

November 2000
Summary: God loves to bless his people abundantly.
Denomination: Baptist
Audience: General adults
Sermon:
How many of you celebrated the Thanksgiving holiday with a special meal? [How many had turkey? "Tofurky"?]
Whatever was being served, how many left the table still hungry? Or, how many had to let our their belts a notch or two?

It is a tradition on Thanksgiving, not only to have a special meal, but to feast. To go beyond merely consuming enough food to eliminate hunger pangs. We eat more than we really need, we fill up every nook and cranny of our stomachs until thereís no room left. We keep eating until weíre absolutely full, until we canít eat another bite Ė and then we force down one last piece of pumpkin pie. Right? On Thanksgiving, simply put, we pig out. And we really donít feel guilty about it. Itís part of the holiday. Grandma would be offended if we didnít take a second helping of her special oyster stuffing. Aunt Mabel absolutely insists that we pass her homemade rolls around the table again. Besides, weíre all going on a diet right after Christmas, so whatís the difference?

Well, this morning Iím not going to get into the ethics of the Thanksgiving meal. Iím not going to try to make you feel guilty about how much you ate. If you overindulged, Iíll give you a one-day exemption from the sin of gluttony. But what I would like to do is contrast that abundance of Godís blessing and provision which we celebrated last Thursday with what we often assume He wants for us every other day of the year. On Thanksgiving, we sit down to a table groaning with food, a table surrounded by friends and family. We get up, groaning from having eaten our fill and more. We watch the children playing, children who come to us as a blessing from God. And all day long, we enjoy an abundance of leisure [most of us donít have to work on Thanksgiving, unless youíre an emergency room nurse or a linebacker for the Cowboys]. We watch our color televisions in our warm, dry houses; we sit on comfortable sofas and recliners, we spend the day eating and drinking and talking and relaxing, and at the end we drive home in our automobiles. We give thanks on this special day for Godís abundant blessings Ė material prosperity, children, family, friends, leisure, health. We recognize that all of these come to us from Godís hand, that they are a gift from Him to us. And yet, it is too often the case, during the other 363 days a year, that we doubt Godís goodness; that we doubt His desire or ability to bless us; we second-guess His care over us; we act as if He canít really be trusted to provide for us.

Too often, instead of believing that God loves us and intends to bless us, instead of believing that He knows what we need and has the power to provide it, instead of placing our trust in Him to do what is best, we do the opposite. We worry. We fret. We agonize. We toss and turn, wondering anxiously what the future holds; wondering how God will provide; wondering what God will provide; wondering if God will provide; and whether it will be sufficient. Itís almost as if, deep down, we harbor a suspicion that if we gave ourselves fully to God, our needs wouldnít get met. As if God either wouldnít, or couldnít, take care of us. And so we hold back. We trust God to a point, but when it comes to making sure we have what we need Ė food, clothing, shelter, friends, husband, wife, children, job, career Ė we hedge our bets, we make sure weíre in control. That way, even if God
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