Do you ever find it hard to be thankful? Not that you aren’t sincerely thankful deep down, but experiencing thankfulness in a real way can be challenging during busy seasons. Especially when the pressure is on to do all of the things that need doing while keeping your sanity and trying to live a #blessed life.
“There is so much to be thankful for” echoes in my mind as I engineer the schedule to fit church activities, work meetings and planning sessions. At the last minute I might throw caution to the wind and schedule a coffee date because miraculously, I still have friends who get me.
I am sincerely, truly thankful, but I’m also kind of tired. When the day to day wears me out, it is all too easy to drift into self-preservation mode. Then it’s hard to be thankful because my blessings also make me want to take a rest.
I was recently reading about the miracle of Jesus feeding the five thousand in Matthew 14:13-21. Jesus had just heard about the death of John the Baptist (His cousin) and was surrounded on all sides by people who needed Him to take care of them. In the midst of grief and feeling overwhelmed, Jesus goes on to perform some of the most famous miracles like the feeding of a load of people and then walking on water. He does some of his best work when He should be maxed out because He knew the source of His strength and perseverance. Just after this miracle, we see Jesus retreating to a quiet place to spend time connecting with His Father.
In this situation in Matthew 14:13-21, the disciples’ resources are few. I don’t blame them for wanting to send the people away. They have five loaves of bread and two fish. There’s not a lot of daylight left, and they are out in the middle of nowhere.
And then there’s Jesus.
When He sees all the people before Him, He has compassion. He sees past the inconvenience and the overwhelming masses, to their individual hearts. He heals the sick and meets their needs.
Jesus sees things differently–from an eternal perspective. He asks what the disciples have, and then asks them to bring it to Him. Jesus takes the meagre offering, looks up toward heaven and gives thanks to God. Then He multiplies their resources to bless and sustain the people in the crowd and build up their faith.
When I am feeling like I’m a few loaves and fishes short, what if I brought what little I do have to Jesus? I can imagine Him looking toward heaven, thanking God for my meagre offering and then using it to do exponentially more than I ever could have imagined.
Sometimes we feel like what we have isn’t enough, whether it’s finances, energy, patience or time. But trusting Jesus with what little we do have glorifies God. It makes an impact and changes us and the world around us.
When the disciples were faithful to bring what little they had to Jesus, they got the best seats in the house to see God at work.
Colossians 2:6-8 (NLT) says “And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.”
Just like the disciples who followed Jesus, we cannot multiply loaves and fishes on our own. But we can stay close to the One who can. We can continue to follow Jesus and let our roots grow deep. We can build our lives on Christ and in doing so, our faith is built up as we witness God at work (even in our craziness of life). We will then overflow with thankfulness out of the fullness of our hearts.
What a thought to be overwhelmed not by life’s pressures and stress, but with genuine thankfulness!
So as your week fills up and you feel spread thin, my question to you is this: What do you have? What can you bring to Jesus? Bring Him whatever you got! When you follow close to Him and build your life on the unwavering foundation of Christ, He can use even the most unlikely of things to do amazing miracles!