We live in an “outrage” society today. It seems that every day there is something conveniently waiting, ready for you to grab a morning coffee and sit at your computer looking at upset, irritated, irate people’s comments who are certain that they have determined what is the next great moral outrage and are willing to tell you what to do about it.
The goal, it would seem, would be for each of us to become just as upset, angry and outraged, and therefore re-post their information, or meme, and see if we can swell this sea of angst and create some kind of change. But, alas, all of this upset doesn’t really seem to change anything. Matter of fact, this same upset may just continue to cycle and re-cycle, branded with a new name, seemingly faster all of the time like a ball rolling down an endless hill.
So what should we do about all of this? Shouldn’t Christians have an answer to any problem that happens in this world? It seems that many Christians feel this way. Many can also become very “preachy” and start to tell you how sure they are about what you should be doing about it as well. They know who you should vote for, what you should post on social media, and how upset you should really appear if you actually cared!
So, what would Jesus do? Isn’t that the question we Christians often ask? Well, we have an interesting example of this exact kind of thing. Challenges happened during Jesus’ time, and he faced difficult moments where the other people around him also became upset. The Lord knew this was going to happen, and knew what these folks were feeling. Still, he let these moments happen, and even seems to “promote” these times as he sees them, asking the disciples what they were going to do about it. Look over in John 6.
In John 6 it begins by telling us that Jesus had performed signs and healed the sick, and because of this he had developed a great crowd that followed him. As the crowd comes, Jesus reaches out to one of his disciples, Phillip, and asks, “Where can we buy some bread for these people?” Now John tells us here that Jesus was only testing Phillip, because he already knows what he intended to do. Really? Jesus is asking a question, and presenting a problem, although he already knows what his plan is. Is this a pattern with the Lord? Does God often have a solution to a problem already prepared before we even begin to understand the problem?
I believe, yes. God knows what our issues and problems are, and even what they are going to be in the future. To believe in God from scripture means that we believe He is omni-present and omniscient. He is everywhere and he knows all. He is also omnipotent. So, He possesses the ability to fix everything right away, out of nothing. He needs no raw materials or agents to work with, He can simply speak things into being. This is the God of the Bible, and He is clearly all-sufficient.
So let’s go back to John 6. So what does Jesus do to remedy this situation? There is a large group of hungry people, and not enough resources to fix this so that everyone could “have a bite” as Phillip puts it. Well, Andrew comes up with a solution. “Here is a little boys lunch, 5 small loaves and 2 fish, but how far will that go?”, Andrew wonders aloud.
Jesus takes that answer, as weak and feeble as it is, and works out an incredible miracle. Now, Jesus could have just fed everyone, without the little boys lunch, right?!?! Jesus could have just spoken and created food, excellent food, and plenty of it. But, he took the small little amount that was brought to him, whatever they could find, and made it all work out to be enough. Have you ever wondered what faith it took for Andrew to even bring that little boys lunch as an answer to this huge need? He just did what he could find to do. He obviously wasn’t thinking that this was a perfect answer, but he did something!
It is easy in this world that we live in to have great insight, wisdom and understanding in being able to see problems and issues, and point those out to everyone around us. It is easy to see how others have contributed to the problems, and how others behavior is causing these problems to become worse and more severe because of the way things are being handled. Don’t you ever wonder, “Why won’t somebody try and do something?”
Jesus shows the disciples there in John 6, and is still showing us today, that if we will take the initiative to try and do something, with His help, the situation can be handled. With His help, people’s needs can be met. With His help, seemingly impossible situations can be bridged and a true miracle can happen. In this beautiful little story, we can thank God not only for his provision, but for the small little gift of a boy’s lunch, and for Andrew, a disciple who suggested an answer that he knew would be inadequate without the miracle that only a Savior could perform.
DO the problems seem too large to handle? Do the issues at hand seem beyond our ability to fix or repair? Well, it is just these sorts of issues that could cause people to look for an answer from a Savior who can create answers out of questions and solutions where only problems exist. What we need today are some Andrews who will come with an answer, even if it feels inadequate or incomplete – just do something that Jesus can work with. His ability does not end at the end of our imagination. He can go far beyond it. “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us.” Ephesians 3:20.
Perhaps it is time to do more than simply call out others and their problems. Maybe it is time to end piling on with memes and news clips that seem to show how wrong our political opponents really are. Maybe it is time for us to show up with some answers. Showing kindness where others are critical. Praying for the souls of those who make poor moral choices and seem unable to find a way out of their hopelessness. Demonstrating faithfulness by worshipping God for all to see. Teaching others with the timeless truths of God’s word and shining a light in a dark place. Are these answers enough? Without the miracle provided by our Savior, I don’t think any of us have an adequate answer. But with His help, how can we fail??? “If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31.
God bless, JOE