How quickly we forget and give up a greater joy and purpose.
How quickly we forget the Scriptures are filled with stories of times when God provided for His people. And of course we see the subsequent forgetfulness of His people in recalling those provisions.
For example, the Gospels of Matthew and Mark record two separate occasions when Jesus fed massive crowds, once a gathering of 5,000 men (plus women and children) and the other 4,000-plus people. If anyone should have understood the concept of God’s “daily bread,” it should have been the 12 disciples who were eye witnesses to these miracles.
Yet an interesting encounter took place just minutes after the second of these all-you-can-eat fish and bread buffets. Jesus, frustrated by the schemes of the Pharisees, stepped into a boat with His disciples and warned them, “Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and of Herod.” (Mark 8:15b)
Coincidentally, “The disciples had forgotten to bring bread except for one loaf they had with them in the boat” and therefore, apparently, misunderstood Jesus’ remark. “They discussed this with one another and said, ‘It is because we have no bread.’” (Mark 8:14, 16).
Can’t you just imagine this face-palm moment for Jesus? When would the disciples ever learn?!!
Mark 8:17-21 says:
“Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked them: ‘Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?”
“Twelve,” they replied.
“And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?”
They answered, “Seven.”
He said to them, “Do you still not understand?”
It’s easy to scoff at the disciples’ short-term memory. But haven’t we all been guilty of disregarding God’s prior blessings, at least a time or two?
We claim to trust God with everything, but all too often we act as if we’re out here on our own.
We clutch tightly onto “our” possessions, instead of remembering that whatever we have has been entrusted us to us by the Giver of all things, to be used for His purposes. And when the bills are mounting, the car breaks down, or we face unexpected illness, it’s easy to shift our focus to what we don’t have versus all that God’s already provided.
We pray for God to “give us this day our daily bread” – then stress out when we forget to bring the crackers.
We’re not so different than those forgetful disciples. But here are my thoughts on how to no forget and to hold tight to our joy and greater purpose.
“I Will Look Up”
There’s a beautiful worship song called “I Will Look Up” by Elevation Worship that’s currently making its rounds through churches across this country. The whole song is full of great lyrics, but the second chorus is particularly profound:
“I will look back and see that you are faithful.
I look ahead believing you are able
Jesus, Lord of all.”
This simple refrain offers a simple three-step action plan toward greater joy and purpose as we strive to become more effective stewards of all God’s resources.
(1) Look back.
Stop to recognize all the many ways God has provided in the past for your family and in your ministry. Count your blessings and say, “thank you.”
(2) Look forward.
Move forward in faith, trusting that the God who has always provided in the past, will continue to do so for you in the future – at just the right time, in just the right ways.
Declare Jesus as “Lord of all.” Give Him all your time. All your talents. All your treasure.
Not only will following this action plan help us become better stewards, but it will also lead to us experiencing a greater sense of joy, peace and purpose in Christ. Freedom comes through surrender.
After all, Jesus can do so much more with whatever “bread and fish” we have to offer, than what we could possibly do on own.
Thank you for your faithfulness, and for the many blessings you have given me.
Forgive me for being so quick to forget!
Help me to trust you with all that I have and all that I am.
I want to be a good steward of your resources,
all for your glory. In Jesus’ name, I pray.
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