08 Sep 2013

I was standing in a line at the fast-food restaurant, waiting to place my order. There was a big sign posted that read, “No bills larger than $20 will be accepted.” The woman in front of me, pointed to the sign and laughed, “Believe me, if I had a bill larger than a twenty, I wouldn’t be eating here.”

So a truck driver stops at the side of the road where a hitchhiker has his thumb up. He opens the window and yells out. “Hi, is your name Jello?” Hitchhiker, confused, says, “Um, no, it’s Dave.” “Well that’s too bad,” says the truck driver, “cause there’s always room for Jello!”

“What is small, red and has to whisper? … A hoarse radish.”

I want to talk to you this morning about how there’s more than enough for you. One of the things people too often believe is that there isn’t enough. There isn’t enough time for them. There isn’t enough love for them. There aren’t enough cures for them or a loved one. There isn’t enough money in their future, or for today. What we’re really saying when we think this way is that there isn’t enough God for what we face.

The God we believe is at the center of all this is more than enough for anything we are going through, and everything we all have to go through. There isn’t anything the Lord hasn’t already taken into account, or can’t shine through. When you’re stuck and can’t see how possibly it’s going to turn out for the better, keep it in your mind and heart that God is more than enough for what you face.

When you look back on your life, it’s so easy to see the times when you thought you were stuck, and yet things worked out. We call that hindsight, and it’s of course 20/20. Now it’s easy to see that I was never going to become a professional basketball player. And it’s just fine. There was more than one path to my life. There are more than enough options available for you. God gives us more than enough.

We are willing to say after the fact, after we were shown that there is more than enough, we are willing to say we are glad we went through what we went through. “I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it weren’t for me not getting that job, or if I didn’t get sick, or if I had gotten married to him or her.”

When we look back we see the hand of God and can give thanks for God’s abundant care for us. You’re always in God’s sight, even if God isn’t in yours. God always keeps faith even when we are losing ours.

Mark loves the loaves and fish story so much that he put it into his Gospel twice. But he’s not the only gospel author who loves it. This story is the one story that appears in all four Gospels.

Of Mark’s two, this is the second one. In this one, Jesus has seven loaves and a few small fish; in the first one he has fives loaves and two fish. In this one, the crowds have been with him for three days with nothing to eat, and he has compassion for their hunger; in the first one he is in a deserted place but the crowds still follow him, and he has compassion for them and so he teaches them, as a shepherd would lead sheep. In this one, Jesus arranges the whole meal; in the first one he challenges the disciples to “give them something to eat.” But what is the same in both stories is Jesus always believing there was more than enough for all.

In our scripture story, the disciples think they’re stuck. They’re in a desert, they remind Jesus, so how can the people be fed. Jesus isn’t dissuaded but instead points to the beginning of the blessing—seven fish and several loaves. Jesus is always looking and pointing out the seed of possibility. He keeps his mind focused on the good things in front of him, and his heart stayed on hope.

Train your mind to see what others might miss. Even though the mustard seed is such a tiny seed, it grows into a large bush. The kingdom starts small but refuses to stay that way if we keep growing it.

Jesus always seems to be asking more of us than we have to give. He calls on us to love, even when love is difficult; to forgive, even when we have been wronged; to stand fast and firm on our principles, even when it means standing alone.

Jesus asks these things because he knows you have more than enough to accomplish his will. He keeps faith that God has already laid enough seed on the ground to bring forth growth. Don’t be dissuaded by other people’s blindness. Don’t listen when someone tells you there isn’t enough for you or to go around. You have more than enough to do good and make the kingdom of God come alive.

When David was a young man, he was already famous in Israel. He had killed Goliath, he had married King Saul’s daughter, and lived in the royal house. But King Saul turned against David out of jealousy. David had to flee in order to save his life. He spent years on the lam. He collected hundreds of men around him; some of them vicious men of war.

During these years, Saul would often hunt David in hopes of finding and killing him. And he came incredibly close several times. One of those times, David and several of his men became trapped in the back of a cave. Saul’s hunting party was outside in the hills. Saul went by himself to the front of the cave to relieve himself. There David’s enemy was, completely vulnerable. His men told him he must kill Saul now.

Instead of killing him David quickly and silently cut off a piece of Saul’s cloak. When Saul had walked away, David shouted after him and told him how he had refused to kill him, asking Saul to believe that David meant no harm to the king. Saul left David alone that day.

David believed in the abundance of God’s goodness. Even when David found himself cornered, he kept his abundance mentality. It looked like a trap; it appeared to be a desert of possibility. But he knew there was more than enough for him in God’s plan for his life.

Too often we think we don’t have enough not because our supplies are too small, but because we are too small. We don’t keep confidence with ourselves. We see ourselves short of talent, thin on possibility, weak before the challenges of life.

David didn’t have this view of himself. He had an expansive view of God’s blessings and his own goodness. He refused to take short cuts to his destiny and future. He may have to live longer in caves; he may have to make tough choices down the road of who to fight and who to support but he believed above all that the right thing done today would lead to a better tomorrow. He refused to give up his belief that there was more good to come. He was bigger than that—there was more than enough of him to walk with God.

You have more than enough to give away your love. You have more than enough so as to give to others forgiveness. You have more than enough grace to let joy abound in your life. You have more than enough already to receive from God more than you thought possible. The Lord wants to enlarge your life. God seeks to find a way to bring us joy. And this can happen if we believe there is more than enough of us to go around.

I heard about this man that had a picture in his office. It was of a large row boat that had washed up on the beach. The two oars were resting gently on the sand. You could see the ocean off in the distance, some twenty or thirty feet away. The boat was too heavy to drag. It was just sitting there stuck. It had washed up during the high tide and now it was stranded.

And the picture wasn’t very beautiful, wasn’t even inspiring. In fact, it was depressing. Here this boat that was created to live in the water, to dance on top of the ocean, was sitting lifeless, no energy, stuck in the sand. But at the very bottom of the picture, there was a small caption. If you didn’t look at it carefully you might have missed it. The caption read, “The tide always comes back.”

When the tide comes back, the seemingly helpless, lifeless boat will have more than enough water. It’ll come back to life. A friend of this man saw the picture and said, “Why’d you put this up in the office? It’s so depressing.” The man told how he’d gone through a great disappointment. He didn’t think he’d ever be happy again. He saw the painting at a small, antique store and bought it for just a few dollars. Nobody else wanted it. It was too discouraging looking. But he said, “Every time I looked at it, I said to myself, ‘the tide is coming back.'”

There’s more than enough water to lift boats. There’s more than enough of God’s plans for you to lift you up.

Many people feel each day like they’re always behind and can’t catch up and can’t do things the way they want to. We don’t have enough time to explain something to our children, so we yell instead. We think we don’t have enough energy to do things the right way, so we cut corners or cheat. We don’t think there is enough good in the world, so we take what we can get our hands on. We think we’re being shorted.

There’s no doubt sometimes and in some ways we’re going to get the short end of the stick, like the woman who said to her friend. “I finally trained my dog not to beg at the table.” “Really,” her friend asked, “how did you do that?” “Simple, I let him taste my cooking.” I’m sure she has other skills and blessings in her life.

You’re not caught in a corner. There’s no trap set for you. God is providing more than enough. Be like Jesus, who saw in the midst of a multitude of need seven loaves and several fish and believed a feast was at hand—and it was. Be like David, who even when trapped in the back of a cave, didn’t lose his future or his hope but instead trusted that God had more than enough good things planned for his life—and there were.

Be like Paul, who in his letter to his friend Philemon, said, “knowing that you will do even more than I say,” believed and received freely from his friend the good gift he asked for.

An American man traveled to France, and one night as he went walking about the city, he felt God urge him to walk out on a bridge. The bridge was very dark and he had never been on it before. He nonetheless began to cross the bridge. Halfway across he spotted a man on the edge of the bridge ready to jump–to throw away his life. The man walked to him and began to speak to him, in English, asking him not to do this. The man started to talk French; neither could understand each other.

The American was an artist. He took out his pad and pencil, and he began to draw. When he was done with his simple drawing, he held up his picture of a cross. The other man looked at it and began to cry. The man helped the other off the edge and they hugged each other, crying together. The American walked the other man to a YMCA he had seen nearby. He knew there would be someone to take care of him there, and then he left him. He doesn’t know what happened to the man who was about to throw away his life, but he knows he did his part. One simple drawing, and it was more than enough.

You have more than enough. We don’t have to wait to be filled with God’s measure. The Lord has filled you up already with good things. And there is more to come.

Don’t wait for some other day to start trusting in what you have, and what God has done for you. Leave behind the thought that you have been shorted. God’s abundant love for you is already visible to all those who know you and see how much God loves you. Even if you believe otherwise, even if you believe you’re trapped in a corner, the truth is still true: God is more than enough for anything we go through, and everything we all have to go through. There isn’t anything the Lord won’t shine through. Can anybody say, “Amen?”

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