When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick. As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.” Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered. “Bring them here to me,” he said. And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.
When we’re overwhelmed with anything in life we tend to focus on the shortages or deficiencies, don’t we? How am I going to survive? How am I going to pay all these bills? How can I possibly take care of my children, or my parents—or both? How am I going to find time to do everything I need to do?
Jesus’ disciples were the same way. In that famous account of Jesus feeding 5000 people in Matthew chapter 14, the disciples tried to send the crowds away, because there were too many people and too little food.
But, instead of focusing on the shortage, Jesus took those 5 loaves of bread and 2 little fish and gave thanks! He gave thanks for the blessings they DID have—small though they seemed—and then miraculously shared those blessings with everyone there!
Amazing power? You bet! But that’s not all we see in this miracle. This is just one more example of the perfect life your Savior led in your place and mine. Time and time again Jesus was presented with situations that would have led you and me to sin against our Father in Heaven. But not Jesus. He never once slipped up. He never once disobeyed his Father and that is such good news for you and me!
When we see examples of Jesus’ perfection it reminds us of what our God sees when he looks at us. God used the Apostle Paul to explain it this way in 2 Corinthians chapter 5. “God made him (Jesus) who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” Not only have your sins been paid for by Jesus, he’s also given his perfect life to you! So now, when your God looks at you, he no longer sees the mistakes you and I make. Those sins have been paid for! Instead he only sees the perfection that Jesus earned for you and gave to you. The perfect thankfulness that we see in Jesus today—thanks to Jesus, your God sees it in you today!
The next time you find yourself focused on what you seem to lack—be it financial—be it time—be it personal gifts or abilities—remember this account and learn from it! Don’t follow the example of Jesus’ disciples—instead of focusing on what you lack, look for blessings like your Savior did! If you’re having a hard time finding one, maybe you just need to step back and take in the big picture. As a person redeemed by Jesus’ own blood and an heir of heaven, you can always bring your problems and worries and fears to him. When you do, you’ll see that at any time, Jesus can take a small blessing and turn it into far more than we think is physically possible!
Blessings on the rest of your week!