Sunday, July 24, 2011

Thanks and Multiplication

Thanks and Multiplication
July 25, 2011
John 6:11 "Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted..."

To want more than we have is part of the natural human condition. We are never satisfied with the amount that we have, however great or small. We always want more. Sometimes we work for it, sometimes we gamble for it, sometimes we wish for it, and sometimes we pray for it. We pray for it because, in the back of our minds, we know the Lord is the source of all things, who better to grant our wishes come true. But the source of wanting more of anything, except for a few basic needs, comes from our selfish, sinful nature. When we live with an insatiate desire for more (unless the subject matter is the Lord), we give sway to being ungrateful and eventually greedy. The Lord does not grant anything to us when it is born of our sinful desire.

Jesus was preaching to a very large crowd of people, approximately 5,000. The people were hungry and truly needed to eat. No food was readily available and there weren't any hot dog vendors around to meet the need. The only things available were a few loaves of bread and a few fish. You remember the story. Jesus multiplied the few pieces of bread and fish to feed all five thousand people. But if you read the story carefully, Jesus was not able to create the multiplication miracle until He had given thanks. The multiplication miracle did not come from being greedy or wanting more, it came from sincere thanks and appreciation for what the Lord had already supplied (the first loaves and fishes). Jesus would not have been able to perform the miracle if it were born of His selfish desire to simply have more or if He was being greedy. No, He was thankful, something you and I fail at every single day.

Consider, for instance, the last meal you consumed. It has become a tradition in Christian culture to say a small prayer of "thanks" before each meal. You've certainly done this once or twice. I've probably said a small prayer of thanksgiving a million times before I have eaten. But when was the last time you and I were sincerely and truly grateful for the meal we were about to consume. When was the last time our hearts were filled with appreciation to the Lord for supplying our daily bread? I've probably said a prayer of thanksgiving more times out of habit than I have out of a spirit of gratefulness. We are all guilty of this. Yet we have the audacity to ask for more, and I'm not simply referring to food. We live without a spirit of gratitude but still ask the Lord to open the floodgates of Heaven to give us more of the things we want.

The miracle Jesus performed in multiplying the loaves and the fishes was out of basic human necessity to fuel the body for survival. It was certainly not born of greed, adding excessive amounts to what He already was given. It was done only through a spirit of true thankfulness. But notice what happened AFTER Jesus had given thanks and created the unbelievable multiplication miracle. Each person who consumed their share of the loaves and fishes had as much as he wanted. Scripture doesn't say they consumed as much as they needed but they had "as much as they wanted." Wow, the outcome everyone wants from the onset, more of what we want regardless of need. The Lord only allowed that amount, though, because it was born from a spirit of thankfulness.

Try spending more time being thankful, truly thankful, than asking for more. You might actually end up with more of what you want anyway! The multiplication miracle you're looking for won't happen unless you're truly grateful for what you DO have.

Don't take my word for it; look it up: Psalm 136, Neh 12:31, Jer 33:11, Mark 8, Matt 15, John 6:23, 1 Thess 5:18

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