Saturday, December 3, 2011
Loaves and Fishes
I wasn't even supposed to preach today. It was Jack's week. I didn't mind, though, and since I'm doing a long series on the Old Testament, I didn't even have to come up with a subject - just go on to the next story. For a brief time I did consider preaching on a passage in Matthew that really impressed me during my worship, but finally decided to continue with the series.
This week's sermon was Child of Promise, about the birth of Isaac, the miracle boy. Of course it leads very naturally into a comparison with the birth of Jesus, also the Miracle Boy. It was a beautiful power point presentation, complete with Bible verses, applicable quotations, and tons of pictures to keep the kids interested. Hey, adults like pictures, too, but kids like them most.
Since I wanted to be on time, I got ready a half hour early and dashed over to help with Grandpa so Tina could get done early enough. (She was giving me a ride to church, as I am short a vehicle just now.) Fortunately, most of the work was already done, so I stood there looking gorgeous in my new outfit from Tina, and held Grandpa's clothes in case anyone needed them. "Saul," Tina called me, snickering. (From Acts 7:58.) To save time, I called Tiggy and asked her to pack my computer and cord, so we would be ready.
The trip in to church didn't go very smoothly, either. Ultimately, we had to turn around almost there, and meet with Mom to disgorge two passengers. To spare anyone embarrassment, I will call them Mevon and Merafina.
With not much time to spare, I began to assemble the electronics to hook up the power point. Computer? Check. Cord? Cord?
Um, Tiggy, where did you put my cord? The stunned look on her face and involuntary 'o' of her mouth told me all I needed to know. Suddenly I felt like that kid with his nose pressed against the glass, and no way to get in and reach my precious sermon.
With a hasty contemplation, I realized there was no time to reconstruct my intended sermon. It was too much information, taken back and forth from several sources, and scattered over numerous chapters in the Bible. I just am not that good. What I needed was something simple. Something I could just stick to one place, go through bit by bit, and have ready in 15 minutes or less. Something very much like....that passage in Matthew.
Maybe I did pull a Jonah by not picking that in the first place. Maybe I ignored the quiet prompting of the Holy Spirit, asking me to share the lessons from the feeding of the 5,000. Whatever the case, God mercifully brought me back around and dropped me off at Ninevah, thanks to a missing power cord.
The sermon went well, much better than I deserved. And yet, that's what the lesson was all about. Jesus could have created an opulent banquet, there in the middle of the desert. The people could have feasted on dainties and delicacies. Instead, Jesus turned to the people - asking what resources they had to offer.
It wasn't much, just one boy's lunch. Bread and fish, the usual dinner of the poor folk. But placed in the hands of Jesus, it became enough to feed 5,000 men plus women and children, with 12 baskets left over to share.
That happened to me today. Left with the electronic equivalent of about a half a loaf and no fish, I was sunk. With my inadequate resources in the hands of the Master, they grew to fill the need.
And I have my next sermon done already...