Summary: Jesus wants what you have, and who you are: when you don’t take the place in the Body of Christ that God has designed for you, that place remains empty.
You have perhaps experienced as I have, that life can be humbling sometime. A five-year-old was sitting with her grandfather in her room one day, and she asked him, “Grandpa, did God make you?”
“Yes, child,” came the reply. “God made me.” The child paused for a moment, and then asked, “And Grandpa, did God make me too?” Again the reply came back in the affirmative.
The 5-yr.-old looked in the mirror on her dresser for a while, and then looked her Grandpa in the face: “You know, Grandpa, God is doing a whole lot better work lately.” INDEED, LIFE CAN HUMBLING SOMETIME.
We’ve all done things or said things that make us look pretty silly, and the moment those words came out of our mouths we realized what we had just said and wish we could reach out and grab those words and stuff ‘em back in and start all over again.
Perhaps some of you have experienced what I have on occasion in leaving a voice mail message. In today’s world of course, this is a common task and most of us have gotten at least somewhat used to it, but even at that, there are those few times when you’re in a hurry or your mind is distracted and you really think the person you’re calling is going to be there, and so when their voice mail kicks in you’re not quite ready.
The result is that you leave a message which doesn’t flow well, has several moments of dead silence as you’re trying to think of what to say next, and you may even finish the message by saying something like, “Please don’t judge my intelligence by this message I’m leaving you, I wish I could start all over again,” and you hang up feeling like an absolute fool.
Now if you are fortunate enough not to be prone to making yourself look silly, you may have experienced still those feelings of insignificance, of not measuring up, which tend to be laid on us by other people.
Think of the way advertising campaigns bombard us with our shortcomings. You’re taught by these commercials that you need to drive a certain kind of car, wear a certain style of clothing, use a particular fragrance, even drink the “right” kind of soft drink in order to truly be cool. Therefore the message is that if we don’t do, own, or wear these things, then we don’t measure up.
A good example of this is I use to feel every time I would watch one of those Soloflex commercials. You may remember them, they were the ones where they would show a closeup of a beautifully sculpted muscular and of course well-tanned man’s bicep, and then of his back, and the narrator would say, “This could be your arm, this could be your back.”
And so while I’ve tried to practice a little healthier nutritional lifestyle over the past couple years (though I must confess I still have a terrible weakness for Cheese Krystals and chocolate chip cookie batter); but I have cut down considerably on how much fat I eat, and I lift weights and walk on a regular basis; but I’m still never going to look like the Soloflex guy, I’m just not built that way. Therefore, if the Soloflex guy is my standard, I’ll never measure up. I’ll never make it.
I could share many other examples of the experiences in life which help us feel insignificant or unimportant. Those of you who waited until the last possible moment to get your annual emissions test may have experienced the joy of waiting in line behind 40 or 50 cars until your turn came.
Or think of the times you’ve been stuck going across the Fuller Warren Bridge at 7:30 in the morning or 5:30 in the afternoon, or the crowds you may have encountered at Disney World, or the way you feel any time you hang up the phone after dealing with some part of the Federal government, I bet you felt special then! Life can indeed be humbling sometimes.
Why do I want to remind us of this today? Because it’s in this context that we can best understand one of the most important stories in all the New Testament. John, Chapter 6, verses 1-13.
“After this Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. And a multitude followed him, because they saw the signs which he did on those who were diseased. Jesus went up on the mountain, and there sat down with his disciples.
Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand. Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a multitude was coming to him, Jesus said to Philip, "How are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?" This he said to test him, for he himself knew what he would do.