Summary: Looking at the story of the feeding of the 5,000 we find it is a little boy’s "happy meal" that is offered up to Jesus to meet the needs of the crowd. When we offer what little we have to Jesus amazing things can happen!
What God Can Do With a Happy Meal
Count On Me! Message Series
January 12, 2003
Rev. Gary A. Shockley, Senior Pastor
They had been gathering there for three full days. Dads and moms. Children and grandparents. People in all shapes and sizes from all walks of life. Most of them having nothing in common except this one thing: to see and perhaps even touch Him…the man who turned water into wine; who made a shambles of the temple compound by overturning tables and driving away vendors; who talked openly with women of questionable character; who cured the diseased; the man who even claimed to be God. It was better than a three ring circus. It was all three rings, and then some, wrapped up in one….man.
As the third day wore on the 20,000 plus people had become a very large and very hungry crowd and there wasn’t a McDonalds or Quizno’s in sight! The disciples were more than a little nervous about the whole thing. What if the crowd turned ugly?
They were about to learn something from this experience that would forever change their lives. They were about to learn that when you’re faced with a huge challenge and you need a miracle to get through it, you have to do three things. As we’ll see this morning all three things relate to the challenge we all face in regard to our commitment to God’s work.
January is the time of year when we focus more specifically on our Christian stewardship. Standing here at the beginning of a new year we are able to look forward to the incredible opportunities we have for growing and expanding our ministry. Our “Gifted to Give” funding strategy may alleviate some of the sacrifices we’d have to make for land and building. But what it really does is free up more of our resources for the ministries of our church. As your pastoral leader I take very seriously the responsibility I have to present our ministry needs and invite you to pray about and then make your individual commitment of time, talent, treasure and trust.
1. The first thing we must to do when it comes to our own Christian stewardship, the way we invest and spend the resources God has placed in our care, is: admit that we have a need!
I am, by nature, a people watcher. Always have been. The thing I enjoy most, really it’s the only thing I enjoy, about going to the mall is the chance to watch people. After 45 years of people watching I’ve noticed that there are three kinds of people in the world: those who make things happen; those who watch things happen; and those who have no idea what’s happening! Which person do you tend to be? All three of these kinds of persons were in the crowd that day listening to Jesus.
I know on any given day in the church around the world these three kinds of people exist. The challenge is not to guilt people into giving more or doing more. The challenge is to get each and every person who claims the name Christian to admit that they have a need--- to help. Hear this: As Christians we have a need to give regardless of the church’s need to receive. To put it another way: if Cornerstone had all the financial, time and talent resources required to fulfill it’s ministry and mission in the world it would not change the fact that as Christians we still have a need to give!
John writes in 6:5,6 “Turning to Phillip, Jesus asked, “Phillip, where can we buy bread to feed all these people?” He was testing Phillip, for he already knew what he was going to do. Phillip replied, “It would take a small fortune to feed them!” Phillip had obviously forgotten who was with them! This is the One who had the power to turn water into wine and stone’s into bread. He’s standing right there in front of them, in their hour of need, and they’re looking over His shoulder for Colonial Sanders or Ronald McDonald.
Where will we cast our eyes as we wrestle with the resource challenges of Cornerstone Church? Will we look to the Conference to bear the burden and carry the load? Will we look to other churches to meet our needs? Will we look to the new families joining us? Will we look to the people sitting beside or around us and expect them to provide these resources? Or will we look to the One who is right here, right now directing us to exercise our need to give?
Here’s the first stewardship principle we can extract from this story: when it comes to the resource needs of the church we have to first consider our need to give—aside from our church’s need to receive!