“Lord, I feel like you’ve given me such a treasure,” I say as I marvel over the Scriptures yet again. “I’m just a jar of clay, but I’m carrying your precious Word, and all I want to do is share it!”
In fact, sharing is just what I am getting ready to do. The pastor at my English speaking church asked if I would be willing to share a selection of John 6 for his Sunday school class later that morning. As I begin going over my lines at a beautiful overlook of Tegucigalpa (Honduras’ capitol), I suddenly see a large group of touristy Gringos headed my direction. I’m not surprised–this is the perfect place for a facebook-like-worthy photo-op. The very white-looking people are not aware that their suddenly influx of site-seeing is crowding out my meditation on the Word. I shyly withdraw to a safe distance from the mass of people and continue to rehearse… Until I get an even stronger interruption.
Spirit nudge: Share with them.
Me: (quickly questioning the validity of the Spirit-source) I’d rather not.
I go through my lines about the large crowd coming toward Jesus, who then asks Philip about getting them some bread. Calculator Philip freaks out; Bright-Idead Andrew suggests a boy’s meager lunch (quickly back-pedaling when common sense kicks in); Jesus takes up his offer and feeds everyone.
My mind shifts back to the crowd right in front me. Calculator Kelsey freaks out; Bright-Idead Kelsey suggests sharing a few verses (quickly back-pedaling when common sense kicks in). Jesus, are you about to feed everyone?
Spirit nudge: Talk to them… Talk to them… Talk to them.
Me: (finally) Fine, I’ll say hi when they come by.
The clustered tourists disperse after the final photo and start trickling my way.
Me: What are y’all doing here?
Random Person #1: We are on a mission trip.
Me: Oh cool Where are you from?
Random Person #2: Iowa.
Me: Really?! I just came from Iowa!
Random Person #3: What were you doing in Iowa?
Me: I am touring “The Gospel of John.” (Eager-Andrew syndrome takes over:) Want to see a section?
All the random people: YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Ironically, my time in Iowa just a few weeks prior began with a portion of John chapter 6 for a morning church service. These chapters have since continually resurfaced in my heart. Jesus providing abundantly for the multitude through one person’s meager offering. The key: offering. And so I offer the little I have. With meager faith and a whole lot of reluctance, but I offer what I have nonetheless.
Unsure of whether or not I have just made a fool of myself, I end the section a little prematurely. “There’s more,” I say, “but that’s some of it, anyway.” Although our obedience to the Lord–not others’ reactions–is what matters, I am thankful for the awestruck gratitude I receive from the hearers. It’s nice to know following the Lord has an actual point (not just seeing how ridiculous I am willing to be–which is honestly how it feels sometimes). In fact, one of twinkly-eyed men in the group rushes up to me, “What a coincidence–my men’s Bible study we have been studying John chapter 6!” Coincidence? Ha! Another man comes up to me, “I have to tell you, when I was watching you I felt like the Lord was saying that you have a treasure in you and that as you share God’s Word that you are sharing that treasure with us.”
Smirking, I look upwards and shake my head. “Of course, Lord, of course.” Talk about affirmation!
By the grace of God, he has continued to provide affirmation after affirmation after offering up the little I have. The same little that was never mine in the first place, but that has always been his to begin with. He has given me His precious Word and he has given it to me to give. And somehow in the Lord’s economy, his giving-fountain never runs dry. Giving out fills me up! (Somehow in my little faith, I always think I’m going to hit the bottom of the well one of these days, but his faithfulness has proven otherwise). Which makes me wonder… what am I withholding?
Too often I look at the couple of fish and loaves in my hand and grip onto them–thinking if I give them up I’ll go hungry. Give $_______ to so-and-so. But then how will I have enough to___________!?! Go talk to ____________. But what if I have nothing to say!?! Go to __________. But what if nobody goes with me!?! I’ll be with you. I am enough.
Every time I am called to sacrifice something—comfort, communities, common sense…–every single time I actually surrender said-something, God provides. Every time. And yet every time I sense his call to sacrifice something else, I still grip on tightly to what I have as if this time He won’t. Until he finally helps me to release, and he provides all over again.
What if we actually trusted Him to ‘feed us’? What if we were to truly live open-handedly? Actually believing that if we offer up our few loaves and fish that the Lord will multiply? What if we stopped worrying ‘if I don’t take care of me who will’? Would we be more apt to give sacrificially instead of just our leftovers? What if we trusted that the Lord of the universe really is our Shepherd and that because of that we really do lack nothing? Would we live differently? I would.
What about you? What has the Lord given to you? It may not feel like much, but trust me, in the Lord’s hands it is more than enough. And if you open your hands not only will you get the joy of giving, but you’ll finally have hands open to receive what the Lord wants to give you: more than you ever had in the first place.
Spoken Word Performer
*INDIA UPDATE (see previous entry):
India has been like a dripping faucet in the back of my mind. I’ve known I need to go, but I keep putting off doing anything about it. I added a few people to ‘pray about it’ (and threw in the London prayer request for kicks–since that is the other place that has been on my heart even before leaving Honduras the first time). Finally having enough of the mental nag, I looked into tickets… my jaw dropped. Guess which city my India flight needs to layover? Yup, London. Again I say: talk about affirmation! Needless to say, I bought my ticket.