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Have you ever noticed how Jesus dealt with need?

He went to what was supposed to be a secluded place. He intended to mourn the death of one He loved dearly, John the Baptist. The crowds were as big as ever. This, in fact, is the largest crowd documented in His ministry. We call it the feeding of the 5,000 and yet the text tells us,

There were about five thousand men who ate, besides women and children. - Matthew 14:21 NASB

So could we guess somewhere between eight and twenty thousand?

That doesn’t really matter to Jesus, so let’s not get crazy about the number. The point is, it would be IMPOSSIBLE to feed these folks, since they apparently didn’t even bring food for themselves, or had already eaten it on the way across the lake.

In any case, Jesus looked at this multitude, far from the local markets, and decided to ensure they didn’t go away hungry. Matthew, Mark, and Luke agree that Jesus told the disciples to feed them. It the kind of thing that would be hard to forget.

I can see Matthew at a table in His old age writing down the accounts of his time with Jesus. What would I remember about that day, even if it was fifty years past. I would remember the moment when Jesus turned to me, standing with my satchel empty and said “Feed this multitude.” It’s just the kind of thing you don’t forget.

So what is Jesus’ solution to this dilemma of thousand’s to feed?

It’s His two step plan for abundance.

It will work in any life.

If you have the courage to follow this plan, you’ll see something unforgettable.

Step one: Find out what you have.

And He said to them, "How many loaves do you have? Go look!" And when they found out, they said, "Five, and two fish." - Mark 6:38 NASB

And here is the key to abundance.

Step two: Bring it to Jesus.

And He said, "Bring them here to Me." - Matthew 14:18 NASB

I just love that!

What do you have?—Bring it to Me.

You have to see this. Jesus never allowed circumstances to convince Him that He was in a tight spot.

Do you think Jesus thought they had enough in their bags to feed this crew? He knew they didn’t have a year’s supply of stores with them. They came here to be alone, not intending to deal with the crowds. This mob tracked Him down.

But He has a simple solution to the problem.

What do you have?—Bring it to Me.

Have you ever come up against a need you really wanted to meet, but you pulled back because you just didn’t have the resources to deal with such a great problem?

What do you have?—Bring it to Jesus.

I’m not saying to be foolish.

I’m not saying if you want a bigger TV or a snazzier car you should go into debt “trusting” God to feed your own lusts.

What I am saying, is when you find yourself in a tight spot—gather up what you have and bring it before the Lord. Then pray and listen for His solution.

Really, try this. (I’m going to—this message is really for me.) Lay your bills and your bank statements (or wallet, if the bank has nothing to offer) out on the dining room table (or the floor, if they have already taken your table.) Give it all to Him, your bills, your debts and your resources.

Lord, this is where I am. This is what I need and this is what I have. What am I to do?

Then listen. Have a pen and paper with you. If thoughts come to mind - write them down. They will probably not all be God thoughts, but write down everything you hear, or sense. Then pray through what ended up on the paper. Look for the life on the list. What, on the list, gives you a sense of hope.

If it’s something that sounds crazy in the natural, you might want to get some trusted godly counsel.

If you’re married, do this with your spouse, and DO NOT proceed unless you both have peace and sense life.

By the way—Jesus didn’t tell the boys to go into debt to solve this problem. The only risk involved with what Jesus told them to do is that they might have felt a little foolish if nothing happened.

So, I’m not telling you to take all your life’s savings and send it to a preacher somewhere.

I’m asking you to bring what you have to the Lord. Put it all at His disposal, and ask Him what to do next.

I’m expecting great things.

Are you?

cropped-BenHeadshot.jpgThanks for coming by.

Have a great weekend.

Ben

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photo credit: Harvest via photopin (license)
photo credit: Harvest via photopin (license)

Solomon had a vineyard at Baal-hamon;

He entrusted the vineyard to caretakers.
Each one was to bring a thousand shekels of silver for its fruit.

My very own vineyard is at my disposal;
The thousand shekels are for you, Solomon,
And two hundred are for those who take care of its fruit. 

Song of Songs 8:11-12

There is a shift in speakers between verse 11 and 12. We were hearing the voice of the narrator telling us about the arrangement the King has with those who steward His vineyards.

Last week we talked about the fact that the Lord expects us to be fruitful. In verse 12 the bride is speaking and we’ll learn how she feels about the king’s demands.

If you remember the center piece of this Song, right at the end of chapter 4 and the beginning of chapter 5 the Shulamite gave her garden over to the Shepherd King.

Awake, O north wind,
And come, wind of the south;
Make my garden breathe out fragrance,
Let its spices be wafted abroad.
May my beloved come into his garden
And eat its choice fruits!"

Song of Songs 4:16 (emphasis mine)

This is the point where she goes from thinking in terms of her garden to understanding that all she has belongs His. [You might like this post.]

Today, in similar fashion, she still thinks of it as her garden because it is her charge. But she doesn’t begrudge the King his payment. Not only that she pays others to come and harvest in her garden.

You see, working in the Lord’s harvest pays well.

Now you’re thinking I’m really crazy. How many missionaries, itinerant ministers, pastors and other full-time christian workers can live on what they are paid.

OK - I don’t want to discuss who should get paid for what in the church structure—let’s not jump in that puddle today.

What I want to consider is how abundant the harvest is.

If she was just trying to get by, and pay the taxes—the thousand shekels—due, she certainly would not have labor’s working in the field with her. She would find a way to get by through her own sweat and blood.

But that’s not the case here.

She has enough to meet her own needs.

She can give that which is required of her, and does so gladly.

She has abundance to the extent that she has to hire help to bring in the harvest.

Why such success?

When you give yourself to kingdom living—kingdom occupation—you’ll find the fruit of the kingdom abounds. [Tweet This]

I know that at the top of the page I talked about jobs that are commonly considered “full time christian work.” But any work done by a citizen of the kingdom is kingdom work. There is no such thing as secular in the life of a subject of King Jesus. If He is your Savior, then He is your King, your Boss, your Master, your Lord. Oh, and He is also you Husband, the Lover of your soul, your Friend, and your Brother.

As to the abundance the bride finds in her/His vineyard, David puts it this way:

How blessed is the man who
does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.

Psalm 1:1-3 (again, emphasis mine)

Do you see it? When you give yourself to the kingdom—yoke yourself to the Lord—you’ll find you work fruitful.

We serve a Great King!

Since our prosperity does not always fit the world’s scale of success, we often don’t recognize the abundance. If we keep our eyes on their prize, we’ll likely miss ours.

The simple solution is to keep our eyes on Jesus.

BenHeadshotThanks for stopping by today.

Don’t tire of the good work He has called you to and created you for.

Ben