One of the interesting things about life is negotiating the personalities of individual members in a group. In families, offices, institutions, and churches, people fall into different and sometimes opposing categories when it comes to taking a risk. Some are optimists, some are pessimists, some are risk-takers, others have a serious aversion to taking chances, some are followers, and some are leaders. If you ever want to see this in action, attend your church’s Finance Committee meeting. As the saying goes, “it takes all kinds.”
To put it another way, some are Tiggers and some are Eeyores. Tiggers see abundance. Eeyores see scarcity. One’s ability to take risks is firmly grounded in which one you are.
I fall into the risk-taking, glass always full, Pollyanna-lives-in-my-soul category, so I am always grateful to be balanced by the risk-averse folks who keep us in line and counsel caution. But sometimes God’s plan involves taking great leaps of faith.
I love the interplay between Jesus the risk-taker and the disciples, who are seriously risk-averse in this well-known story about the multiplication of the loaves and fishes.
Matthew 13 (Contemporary English Version)
13 After Jesus heard about John, he crossed Lake Galilee to go to some place where he could be alone. But the crowds found out and followed him on foot from the towns. 14 When Jesus got out of the boat, he saw the large crowd. He felt sorry for them and healed everyone who was sick.
Jesus saw the sick and felt sorry for them. What a beautiful statement of who Jesus is. He had tried to get away from the hustle and bustle of Messiah-life, and was probably feeling very burned out. I can relate, and I bet you can, too. If we all had a chance right now to get away to a place by the lake to just rest, I bet we would cherish that. But Jesus, ever mindful of people’s needs, tended to the large crowd.
15 That evening the disciples came to Jesus and said, “This place is like a desert, and it is already late. Let the crowds leave, so they can go to the villages and buy some food.”
16 Jesus replied, “They don’t have to leave. Why don’t you give them something to eat?”
Here is the risk-taker at work. He tells the disciples that the people don’t have to leave because the disciples can give them something to eat. The Eeyores in the group looked at each other and likely thought the same thing: “W-W-With what??”
Jesus was teaching them to appreciate what they had and realize that everything we have is subject to multiplication. The trick is to offer it to the One who will multiply it for our good.
17 But they said, “We have only five small loaves of bread and two fish.” 18 Jesus asked his disciples to bring the food to him, 19 and he told the crowd to sit down on the grass. Jesus took the five loaves and the two fish. He looked up toward heaven and blessed the food. Then he broke the bread and handed it to his disciples, and they gave it to the people.
In the Savior’s hands, the meager resources are offered to heaven and blessed. They provided so much food that there is an abundance of twelve large baskets of leftovers. God is never a God of scarcity, but always a God of abundance.
20 After everyone had eaten all they wanted, Jesus’ disciples picked up twelve large baskets of leftovers.
21 There were about five thousand men who ate, not counting the women and children.
The question for us today is, where are YOU offering your resources? Don’t be fooled. Just as the Lord can multiply what you offer him, so too can the Enemy. If all you offer is hate, violence, anger, selfishness, and vitriol, you can be sure the Enemy will take that and multiply it in a hurry.
But when you offer love, compassion, prayer, generosity, and peace, heaven will bless and multiply that in great abundance.
The choice is yours. What’s in your basket?