My mom let some insecure words slip through the phone line the other day. She shared her sense of insufficiency as she wondered what words to offer her friend—one whose doctor recently said he thought her cancer had progressed. Mom’s friend nervously nears the answer as she waits for the PET scan results.
“She wants to talk to me. How will I find the right words?” Mom asked me.
These questions reminded me of the times when I felt inadequate to handle a situation and thought, Is what I have to offer enough?
During that phone conversation, I wondered what to say.
Have there been times when you wondered, “Do I have enough?”
That’s what Jesus’ disciples expressed after teaching with Him all day. As they faced the large crowd, they approached Jesus and suggested He send the people away to find food and lodging (Mark 6:34-36 NIV).
The disciples told Jesus they didn’t have enough.
Can’t you just imagine Jesus giving a slight nod of the head as he encouraged them? “Give me what you’ve got,” he affirmed.
In paucity of their supplies, the disciples responded with doubt, “But how can we?” In the meantime, Philip calculated the cost of feeding the crowd (John 6:7).
Philip forgot to consider God’s calculations.
Andrew came forward in faith and said, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish.” Andrew exposed his doubt when he continued, “But how far will they go among so many?” (John 6: 8-9).
Isn’t that how we sometimes respond to our sense of inadequacy? We focus on shortfalls rather than sufficiencies. And we ask, “But how can I?”
We may doubt if we have what it takes to handle a challenging situation. Do we question whether we have enough time or energy to volunteer or help someone in need? We may wonder if we can invest any more love in someone who is difficult to love. Do we sometimes turn away from a conversation because we fear for not having the right words?
We can start by asking if we have enough faith.
When we come up short on faith, we begin calculating—and come up short on doing.
I’ve been guilty of calculating the quality or quantity of my offerings instead of remembering that little is much in His hands.
Sometimes it stops me from doing anything at all.
Imagine the boy for a moment. Dust clung to his sweaty skin and messy hair. Dirt caked into his fishy-smelling robe. His soiled hands held five small loaves of barley bread. Barley, most often used as fodder for horses, was also used for baking bread chiefly among the poor. The bread may even have been stale.
After considering this, why would I ever think what I have to offer is not enough for God to use?
The Bible doesn’t tell us a lot about the boy, but we do know that he appeared poor—and the little he had turned miraculous.
If we offer nothing, God will have nothing to use.
When my mom questioned herself at the beginning of our conversation, I didn’t know what to say. Then, before I knew it, I was sharing the story of how Jesus fed thousands.
As we ended our phone conversation, I realized one thing: I didn’t just encourage her; I also encouraged myself.
It’s not about what we have but what God can do with what we have.
When we focus on shortfalls rather than sufficiencies, we end up asking, “But how can I?” Click To Tweet When we come up short on faith, we begin calculating—and come up short on doing. Click To Tweet If we offer nothing, God will have nothing to use. Click To Tweet It’s not about what we have but what God can do with what we have. Click To Tweet