Saturday, July 20, 2013

You Have What It Takes - Part II

In my last post, I started sharing on the miracle of the feeding of the 5,000 – where I highlighted that it was the most popular miracle in the life and ministry of Jesus in flesh. It is the only miracle documented by all the 4 gospels, and perhaps one witnessed by the largest crowd (most likely >10,000 people including women and children). We zoomed in to consider the lessons imminent in this very interesting account. We considered 2 powerful lessons already. They are:

1. The easiest way out is not always the best way out 

The disciple’s solution to the problem was to send the people away to nearby towns and villages. They wanted to push the responsibility away. Jesus instructed otherwise “Give then something to eat”.

2. Break it down

We often overestimate problems when we consider them in very large chunks. Jesus asked the people to sit down in groups of fifties, perhaps trying to see what works with a smaller group, and then, reapplying to a larger group. Don’t be overwhelmed by the sheer weight and size of the problem. Break it down into smaller bits.

I encourage you to read the full post if you haven’t already, but let me conclude by sharing 2 other principles that I discovered in this story.

3. Give thanks, always.

There was no way 5 loaves and 2 fishes were going to feed 5,000 men - humanly speaking that is. Once Jesus had the loaves in His hands, He lifted them up to heaven, and gave thanks. He was thanking God for what he had, knowing for sure that he would provide what he needed. I know several of us would have prayed if we found ourselves in the situation that Jesus found himself, but I think for most our prayers would have been different. We would most likely have been praying for multiplication, and binding any force that tried to resist us. Jesus gave thanks. When you thank God for His finger, then, you are setting up yourself to see His hands! It is easy to give thanks when you have enough, when things are going fine and everything seems all together. What do you do when you don't have enough? Do you thank Him when you don't even feel like? Here, Jesus was faced with a situation that could have been very embarrassing. He chose to give thanks. Instead of complaining about the business you lost, thank Him that you didn't lose your mind.

In the words of Zig Ziglar “Of all the "attitudes" we can acquire, surely the attitude of gratitude is the most important and by far the most life-changing”. An attitude of gratitude qualifies you for greater blessings. Be grateful for things you have and God will be compelled to give you what you don’t have. Thank him for today and he will guarantee your tomorrow. Multiplication is not far from grateful people. Even in our day to day, don’t you tend to give more to or more inclined to do more for those who show appreciation for what you gave or did the last time?

4. War against wastage

In the story (John’s account of it), Jesus instructed His disciples to gather up the fragments. He said “Gather the leftovers so nothing is wasted…” I am sure you know and agree that he wasn't doing this just to fulfill tomorrow's bread needs. The same power that provided this could provide the next day. He was teaching a principle - wage war against waste.

I am convinced that our country and our continent would be a better place, if we wage war against waste. Look around you, and you would see waste – waste of time, waste of money, waste of resources, waste of talents and so much more. We are a wasteful nation. Have you visited any government parastatal recently? You’d be lucky to get in 1 week, what should normally take you just a few hours. Compare our budget figures with what we actually spent at the end of the year. You will feel like crying. Typically, only about 10-20% of the funds budgeted gets to where they are used. The rest is lost in transit! Someone must take his part before he signs the appropriation. Do you know how much the last administration supposedly spent on road repairs? Yet, our roads are still in a deplorable state.

Do you want to be successful in your personal and business life? I suggest you wage a war against wastage. No matter how much you try to fill a bucket that is leaking with water, you will not achieve much. The wise thing to do at first is to block or fix the leakage. Fix the avenues of wastes and in good time, the bucket will be full. Check your finances for waste. Do you have a budget? Are you sticking to your budget or are you eating with all your fingers. Are you just spending without any thought of the future? Don’t be the present day version of the prodigal son.

I challenge you to war against this evil today, whilst giving thanks and see how God prospers you thereafter.