In my last post I wrote about when Moses encountered God at the burning bush. God expounded on all the ways he was aware of the cries of the enslaved Hebrews and his intention to rescue them from slavery in Egypt. When he told Moses he would use him to accomplish that, Moses had a whole litany of excuses and reasons why he could not fulfill God’s quest for him. Then God asked, “What is that in your hand, Moses?” When Moses threw his shepherd’s staff on the ground, God turned it into a snake and back to a staff again.
Just as important is that Moses leaned down to pick it up. In picking up the snake, Moses showed his faith in God, which also signified his acceptance of the calling.
When Elisha followed his mentor Elijah from place to place to be sure he was present when God took him from this earth, he witnessed Elijah being lifted away in a chariot of fire. Elijah threw down his cloak, which was probably his prayer shawl. Elisha bent over and picked it up. Bending down to pick it up, like Moses, Elisha accepted the call to continue the prophet’s work.
11 As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind. 12 Elisha saw this and cried out, “My father! My father! The chariots and horsemen of Israel!” And Elisha saw him no more. Then he took hold of his garment and tore it in two.2 Kings 2:11-13 NLT
13 Elisha then picked up Elijah’s cloak that had fallen from him and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan.
God can make something extraordinary out of something as ordinary as a shepherd’s staff or a prophet’s cloak. God can do that with a pen, a paintbrush, a gardening trowel, or a crescent wrench if we are willing to first lay them down at his feet. Just as important is our willingness to take them up and use them how God would have us use them.
I also wrote about the first miracle at the wedding feast in Cana, how Jesus turned ordinary water jars into wine decanters and water into wine. God turned ordinary into extraordinary, just as he changed us from clay jars into vessels of the Holy Spirit. What skill or talent we have that may have seemed as bland as water, God can change into something as beautiful, aromatic, and satisfying as new wine.
Our pastor preached on the wedding feast at Cana just this week and pointed out something that I had missed. If each jar held twenty to thirty gallons of water, and there were six jars, then Jesus made 120- 180 gallons of wine. A wedding feast could last for several days, so I imagine they could have gone through a lot of wine, but that’s still an excessive amount of wine for a wedding celebration in a small town in Galilee.
As my pastor shared the math, I was reminded of Jesus feeding the 5000 with five loaves of bread and two fish. You might recall that Jesus first challenged Phillip to figure out a way to feed all those people.
5 Jesus soon saw a huge crowd of people coming to look for him. Turning to Philip, he asked, “Where can we buy bread to feed all these people?” 6 He was testing Philip, for he already knew what he was going to do.John 6:5-7 NLT
7 Philip replied, “Even if we worked for months, we wouldn’t have enough money[a] to feed them!”
Philip was thinking in rational terms. There was no way they could feed all those people. They didn’t have enough resources to feed themselves at times.
But when Jesus blessed the food, it multiplied to feed not only the 5000 but there was enough to gather up twelve baskets of leftovers! Twelve baskets full! Twelve disciples helped distribute the food, so what they gathered after everyone ate was a basket’s worth for every one of them.
Extraordinary. Extravagant. God is extravagant, and if he would use you to bless others, you can believe there will also be extravagant blessings for you.
We so often say today that we must think outside the box. Like Phillip, we think in terms of the rational and logical.
There is nothing wrong with being realistic and practical about what you can do, but don’t make the mistake of limiting what God can do through you.
These stories assure us that whatever God does, he does in abundance. The disciples distributed the bread and fish, and there was still enough to provide for each of them in abundance. It was far more than each of them could consume. The wine, too, was probably more than could be consumed even at a very large wedding celebration.
God provided adequately for the 5000 and for the wedding guests, but God also ensured that those who had trusted and obeyed him would have plenty. What a wonderful reassurance to us that whatever we are willing to give and do for God will return to us in abundance.
“The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.”Proverbs 11:25 NLT
When I honor God in whatever capacity he calls me to serve, I always come away extravagantly blessed. Have you thought you might lack the time, money, or talent to do something significant for God or others? Suppose you laid it at his feet and then God gave back to you in abundance, whatever you think you lack. Would you then be willing to do whatever God asked of you? Would it be worth it then? It might be a step of faith, but I can assure you, it will be worth it.
God is a God of increase. Consider areas in your life that you entrusted to God and then experienced an increase. It’s not just about money, or abilities. What else has God increased in your life in response to your act of faith?
Again, I ask you, what is that in your hand? Are you willing to lay it on the ground at his feet? Perhaps more important is to ask if you are willing to accept the challenge and pick it up? What do you think God can do with such a simple act of faith and obedience?
Why Doesn’t God Just Heal Me
If you like what you’ve seen here, please consider picking up a copy of my book
Why Doesn’t God Just Heal Me – available on Amazon.com
ebook, paperback, and Audible
Having endured an undiagnosed illness for thirty years, I prayed daily for healing and diligently searched the Bible to answer the questions we all ask when faith does not seem to be enough.
With a comprehensive and balanced application of scripture, I address the topic of healing and answer the questions that test our faith.
Thank you, Kathie, for taking your time to write the blogs for us. Your thoughts give me encouragement to be aware at all times, what God might be trying to ask me, or show me. .
Thank YOU for letting me know you read it and liked it. Love you my friend!