Partners With God
A children's worker spoke to a group recently about innovative teaching. She said an intrepid Sunday School teacher brought fish sticks, a loaf of bread and a toaster oven to the class. She heated the fish and let the children slather them with ketchup. She then taught about Jesus feeding the 5000 with five loaves and two fish. His parents asked one little boy what he learned that day. "We learned about when Jesus fed the crowd with fish sticks and Wonder Bread!" he said.
John is the only gospel writer who identified the source of the food: a lad who brought his lunch. Though John is clear the primary reason he wrote his gospel is that we believe Jesus is the Messiah and we have eternal life through him, this story has other life lessons. One is that God uses people to do his work.
Did Jesus need this lad's lunch? Not really. They were near the Sea of Galilee. All he had to do was summon the fish and they would have leapt from the water. And bread? He could've called manna from heaven as Moses did, or turn the stones into bread as Satan tempted him to do. But Jesus chose to use the lad and his lunch, just as God chooses to use us today. Entrusted to us is the privilege of knowing God's heartbeat and partnering with him. He gifts us for service with at least one spiritual gift as we work alongside him in the most exciting work in the world.
In our low moments we often belittle ourselves. After all, we know in our heart of hearts our personal weakness. If a spy satellite recorded our coming and going for a single day, we'd all be embarrassed for others to see the kind of lives we live and to hear the words we say. Yet the psalmist insisted that God knows us intimately. "You knit me together in my mother's womb. You saw me before I was born" (Psalm 139: 13, 15). And he continued, "You have examined my heart and know everything about me" (v.1). The writer declared God knew us yesterday and knows us today. And what is his response? "You place your hand of blessing on my head" (v.5). God places his loving hand on our heads, blessing us to be partners in ministering to a broken world.
French villagers reconstructed a statue of Christ that was damaged by bombs in World War II. The hands were obliterated, but the villagers kept the statue and added an inscription underneath: "I have no hands but your hands." You and I can be the hands and feet of Christ.
(This article was written by Michael J. Brooks, pastor of Siluria Baptist Church, Alabaster, Alabama, and is represented herein with permission.)
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