Daily Devotion 15 August 2020
John 6: 1, 3, 5, 7-9 ‘Imagining the Impossible’
1 After this Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, also called the Sea of Tiberias. 3 Jesus went up the mountain and sat down there with his disciples. 5 When he looked up and saw a large crowd coming towards him, Jesus said to Philip, ‘Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?’ 6 He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he was going to do. 7 Philip answered him, ‘Six months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.’ 8 One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, 9 ‘There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But what are they among so many people?’
One Sunday recently Rev. Paul quoted Desmond Tutu: “Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world”. That is a great thought, because so often unfortunately, the size of the problems in the world overwhelms us, we think that there’s nothing we can do and so we do nothing
I suddenly thought of an occasion when my daughters were very small. We had a rule that they should take no more than five toys each out of the cupboard at any one time – it wasn’t very strictly adhered to! However, one day I found them with everything out, scattered about everywhere and I almost lost my cool. Sternly I told the girls to put it all away, so that when I came back I would find a nice, tidy room; and I left them to it.
From outside the room I heard what ensued. The elder one, about five years old, wailed, “It’s too much. It’s impossible. We can’t do it.” and she flung herself to the floor. After a moment, her little sister, all of three years old, said quietly, “Well, if I just put this one away and you just put that one away and then …” A short time later when I went back to help, to my astonishment there were two smiling, virtuous daughters – and nothing left to do.
There are so many times in our lives when all it takes is the first little step but somehow that is beyond us. In this gospel story, first of all Philip and then Andrew dismissed the possibility of feeding the multitude: “It would cost too much,” said Philip. The lad with five barley loaves and two fish stepped forward, and although Andrew thought the tiny amount he had was hardly worth considering, yet we all know that well over 5000 were fed.
We may feel that what we have to offer is too small – whether it be of our time, our talents, our gifts, our money, or our prayers – that it can’t make any difference. But everything we have comes from God, it’s not ours, we’re just stewards of God’s bounty and he will reject no offering, however small. When we do give, when we take that first step, God will work miracles with what we offer; “those little bits of good put together overwhelm the world”.
We thank you for all your great gifts to us.
Whenever we think we have nothing to offer, guide us to think again and to trust in you to take and use whatever we can give.
When world problems seem beyond us, help us to take that first tiny step, in faith, and to know that as you give us strength and lead us forward more steps will follow.
This we ask in Jesus’ name and for his sake. Amen.
Reflection and Prayer © 2020 Ann Caffyn.
Image freely available online.
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