It's noon on a typical Saturday... one of those Saturdays that make me wish this wasn't typical.
Saturdays are demanding. And this Saturday in particular is one in the same. The phone is ringing, the little sleigh bells I put on the doors are jingling merrily as guests arrive, and I still don't have a single guide in the outpost to help contain the crazy, to help direct the crowds.
I feel a bit like sitting on the floor behind my desk so no one can see me.
A customer comes upstairs to alert me to the fact that there's no toilet paper in the bathroom (again), just as the first guide rounds the corner, frustrated because he worked hard and didn't get the tip he thought he'd earned, and I've just about had it.
For someone who struggles with people-pleasing as much as I do, this job has been.... stretching. Between conflicts with customers and disappointed (sometimes whiny) staff members, I feel like I'm not making anyone happy. No one at all.
I just don't have enough.
I know in my head that this feeling isn't unique to this job or to this season of life... we all feel like this from time to time. Whether you're a teacher, parent, computer engineer... I think we all say it on those hard days.
I don't have enough.
I yell in my mind at all these people.
What do you want from me? I can't do everything!
And those words, repeated like a mantra, become my war chant. No more mercy, no more grace- I've given all I have to give.
We find Jesus on a boat, surrounded by crowds.
He had just learned that his friend and cousin John the Baptist had been killed- brutally, mercilessly. He was grieving.
I wonder how involved the disciples were in Jesus' mourning. What did they think about all this? Were they fearful, discouraged? After all, John was a follower of the Christ, just like they were. Was this the fate that awaited them, too?
And in this time of uncertainty and sadness, when they probably all just wanted to think, to get away, to be left alone, the crowds followed.
Needy, demanding, desperate.
And Jesus welcomed the interruption, saw it as an opportunity, and had compassion on the people.
But the shadows grew longer, and the people started to get restless, and stomachs started to rumble... and the disciples were ready to pack up and go.
They'd gone above and beyond, served when they didn't necessarily feel like it... what more did they have to give?
Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” -Matthew 14:16
You give them something to eat, he said. You feed them.
And the disciples look at their empty hands, feeling wrung out dry.
Five loaves, two fish.
What they have looks so small when compared to the great need. A crumb on an empty table. It wasn't nearly enough to go around.
But we know the story, we've read it from the other side of history, and we know that the loaves and fishes fed the five thousand, and we know that plenty can come from scarcity. He makes something from their almost nothing.
I look at my empty hands, feeling wrung out, empty and dry.
I am so limited.
My time with these people is short, my energy is waning. How can I do this enormous thing of taking the little I have and shining God's love to all these people- needy, demanding, desperate?
My resources and abilities are so small compared to the great needs around me. Crumbs on an empty table.
And God has put all these people here, all these souls looking for something without knowing it's Him they really need, and He tells me, "You give them food."
I don't have enough.
But I know that even when I don't have enough, the One I serve delights in taking what I have and making plenty from my scarcity.
And somehow, in a way I can't understand, the little I have becomes more than enough. The small things make big differences, and somehow God provides. My five loaves and two fish, when offered to the One who lacks nothing, becomes enough. He makes something from my almost nothing.
A crumb on an empty table becomes a feast.
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