I woke up this morning and looked at my calendar in disbelief… a big, empty box stared back at me. There is nothing compulsory on my calendar today.
Oh, there’s still plenty to do. Dishes sit in my sink from a merry gathering of friends last night. My homeschool agenda has a list of goals. Work tasks await me in my email and my planner. And, why, oh why, do I never seem to be caught up with laundry? But for now, I sit. Jesus and I are having coffee.
I started “quickly” reading through the book of Matthew in September. I’m now in chapter 14 – obviously I’m making excellent time. I started reading Matthew in a cafe’ in Thailand.
I left part of my heart in Thailand in the fall of 2014. If you didn’t read my post at the end of 2014, just click back a couple of posts… 2015 has been very full but not so full of the writing.
Throughout this year God just kept right on breaking my heart. Breaking my heart for 400,000 children in foster care – we welcomed and said goodbye to baby M this year and are currently waiting for the next life-changing call from the placement department. Breaking my heart for women trapped and exploited – our Thai ministry partner estimates up to 100,000 in the city of Chiang Mai alone. Breaking my heart for the people all around me right here who do not know, may never have heard, the hope of the gospel. Breaking my heart with the reality of my own pride and how it blinds me to my need for Jesus.
Back to September 2015, I opened Matthew surrounded by the humidity and sounds and smells of Chiang Mai. My heart was heavy with the gravity of the work we were doing and with the love God was growing in my heart for my sweet Thai friends; these women had lived through so much trauma and pain and now were smiling at me as they watered plants and washed windows and swept floors around me.
The message resounded in my heart and mind throughout our time in Thailand and continues to beat in my heart each time I open Matthew’s book – King Jesus reigns. He reigns over this created world. He reigns over history and the rise and fall of leaders. He reigns in the hearts of His people and the kingdom has come. He is bringing life from death and beauty from ashes and oh, what an amazing assurance that one day every knee will bow and every tear will be wiped away!
It really is all about Him.
This week I’ve been in Matthew 14. Jesus heard about John the Baptist being beheaded (the hateful act of those not wanting their sexual sin confronted. And the exploitation and traumatization of a child to bring it about. Evil. Evil). He withdraws to a solitary place… but the crowds follow Him with their needs and demands. And Jesus? He sees and has compassion on them. He sees their spiritual need, He sees their physical need for healing, and He also sees their hunger.
He assigns the job of dealing with their hunger to the disciples. I love the absurdity of the situation – a crowd of “five thousand men, besides women and children.” John’s account of this event says that Jesus specifically asked Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” John 6:6 tells us that this question was a test – Jesus already knew what He would do.
Andrew brought Jesus all they had – five little loaves, two small fish. “How far will they go among so many?”
The situation is absurd because the need is so great. Thousands and thousands of hungry people. Philip knows that buying enough food is impossible. Andrew knows feeding all of those people with their little lunch basket is impossible. It is not enough.
I did a pinterest search for the phrase, “I am enough.” Jewelry, tattoos, printable word art, and all manner of blog posts fill the page. It’s a strange conglomeration of Christian pop culture and Eastern spirituality. We are told this daily affirmation will change our lives. But, it’s a lie.
Friends, I am not enough. If there is anything this past year has taught me it is this. The people crowding around us, the weight of their needs – spiritual, physical, emotional – is absolutely crushing. Just as Jesus asked Philip and the rest of the disciples, I think He is asking us, “look at the need. What will you do?”
I hear it all the time. “I don’t know how you do foster care – I never could do that…” “That’s wonderful that you are invested in Thailand – I could never do that…” Fill in the blank with homeschooling or women’s ministry or discipling or whatever – “I could never do that.”
The fact of the matter is that we don’t have enough money, enough resources, enough time. I am not enough! How far will this little I have go among so many? Our logical brains do the math and calculate the cost and the risk – and like Philip, our answer is often, “I could never.” And we are absolutely correct. We could never.
Jesus continues to teach me the lesson He taught His disciples that day – you don’t have enough, you are not enough – I, King Jesus, am enough. Jesus is the One who can meet the needs. Jesus is the One who sees those who are unseen. And wonder of wonders – He uses these little bits we bring to Him in wavering faith and multiplies them. He’s not telling us that we are enough. He’s telling us that HE IS ENOUGH.
Isn’t that the whole hope of the gospel? That I am not, can never be, righteous enough? But the price He paid IS enough to cover every sin? That He has pronounced me righteous and worthy when on my own I could never be? That He uses the foolish, poor in spirit to shame the earthly-wise?
Take courage, my friends. Open your eyes and look at the need. Don’t listen to the constant hiss of I could never. You are not enough – but He is. Give Him the little you have and watch King Jesus move.