Summary: It is a word that reveals lack. It holds no element of promise. The need is apparent...the solution is not. Nothing. How do you live through the nothings?
Living Through The Nothings
Pt. 1 - Public Exposure
It is one of my least favorite words. Nothing. It is a word that reveals lack. It holds no element of promise. It contains no ounce of hope. Let me see if I can explain.
You share your heart for the one you love and the response is . . . nothing. No reciprocation. No run to embrace. No race to romance.
You spend hours working on your grand, earth shaking, world changing idea and you share it with a confidant . . . nothing. No response. No affirmation. No celebration! Nothing!
You spend hours prepping the sermon filled with hope, challenge, and insight and as you deliver it and call for response or action . . . nothing! No movement. No application.
The demand is there but the resource is not! The need is apparent the solution is not. A withdrawal is requested but there seems to be no funds. Energy is a must but the tanks are empty! Nothing in the cabinets. Nothing in the bank. Nothing in reserve. Relationship longed for but nothing. Nothing!
I hate the word. I hate the experience even more.
I wonder if maybe some of you are presently living through a nothing moment?
Expectations unmet? Dry when you expected oasis? Caring has become cursing. Wedding turned to war. Health lost to sickness. Healing only a desire. Nothing.
How do you live through that?
There are several "Nothing" accounts in Scripture that I think we would do well to examine and learn from this morning. If all your dreams are coming to pass and life is all fairy tale endings for you then you are not going to understand or need this series. But for the rest of us maybe this will provide some help if not hope.
Text: Matthew 15:29-34, 38
After Jesus returned, he walked along Lake Galilee and then climbed a mountain and took his place, ready to receive visitors. They came, tons of them, bringing along the paraplegic, the blind, the maimed, the mute—all sorts of people in need—and more or less threw them down at Jesus’ feet to see what he would do with them. He healed them. When the people saw the mutes speaking, the maimed healthy, the paraplegics walking around, the blind looking around, they were astonished and let everyone know that God was blazingly alive among them. But Jesus wasn’t finished with them. He called his disciples and said, “I hurt for these people. For three days now they’ve been with me, and now they have nothing to eat. I can’t send them away without a meal—they’d probably collapse on the road.” His disciples said, “But where in this deserted place are you going to dig up enough food for a meal?” Jesus asked, “How much bread do you have?”“Seven loaves,” they said, “plus a few fish.” . . .
Over four thousand people ate their fill at that meal.
The disciples find themselves in "nothing" moment and situation. Faced with a throng, multitude and mob of over 4,000 people (one version states 4,000 was the number of men only) they are put on the spot by Jesus. Jesus has a moment of compassion but He does so at the expense of His disciples. Out of nowhere He asks the disciples to resource His rescue and you guessed it . . . they come up with nothing. "I want to feed this crowd and I want you to not only serve them I want you to find the food necessary to do it!" And in face of the incredible need the disciples are left grasping for words and straws. Head down in embarrassment, feet kicking dirt, and hands twitching in realization that public exposure is coming! Jesus . . . I can't hear you . . . Uhhhhh . . . Jesus how are we supposed to have the resources necessary for this crowd? Where are we supposed to find this much food? And what do we have? Seven loaves or in other words NOTHING!!!!
There are a couple of things about this scene that speak to me personally that I want to share with you.
a. Jesus publicly exposes our nothing!
It was one thing to realize that the disciples didn't have the resources to feed the folks but to expose their deficiency, lack, shortcoming, and nothing publicly was something entirely different. He could have pulled them into a side hill (room) but instead right in front of God and everyone . . . here are thousands of people you guys do something about it. Talk about being put on the spot and exposed! Lack is looming over them! Losers! Jesus looks at them and explains His expectations for them and they can't live up to them. Talk about being called out. Talk about public problems.