Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Menu for a Picnic at A Restoration Church

The Bible has some strange but true stories. This one is about a pretty awesome picnic. It is set in a meadow – a big meadow, big enough for over 5,000 people to find a patch of grass to sit on.

· There are no Mickey D’s nearby and there’s no money even if there were.
· The available food is 5 little rolls and 2 fish in a little boy’s lunchbox.

As evening approached, the disciples came to Jesus and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.”
Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. … Bring them to Me. … “ (Matthew 14:15-18)

My mother might try to scratch around in her freezer, pantry and cabinets to find something to fix. She lives in a remote place so she’s used to finding food when a crowd shows up. I don’t know about you but I think I’d be agreeing with the 12 Main Men who came and suggested just sending all the people away before the rumbling in their rummies got too loud!

The most important words in the whole story aren’t “…five loaves of bread and two fish…”
The most important words are “Bring them to Me!”

The prelude to this picnic scene is Jesus’ attempt to get away. Matthew tells us Jesus “withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place.” (vs. 13) That’s about as “get away” as one can get!

But the crowds followed Jesus and Matthew continues, “When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, He had compassion on them and healed their sick.” (vs. 14) Can you picture it? Here are these thousands of people – some limping, some being carried, others being led – and Jesus isn’t mad because they ruined his “down time.” No, Jesus goes even a step further: He looks on them with love and takes care of their disabilities by healing them. And this healing service went on and on all day until it was almost night and people were starting to get hungry and the disciples were getting nervous.

Jesus speaks the great words, “Bring them to Me!” after He already spent all day healing the sick among them. Now He's moving from Healer to Divine Caterer. He calls for the little lunch right in front of all those people. Jesus was talking about fish and rolls. Do you guess anyone laughed? Well, not for long because He showed what He could do. He made a meal for thousands of people from two little fish and five little rolls.

What are we willing to bring to the hands of Jesus to see what He can do? “Bring them to Me!” We go to the grocery store, school, work, Simmons Farm, the auto repair shop and South HIlls Village mall. Jesus says, “Bring them to Me!”

Jesus wants us to bring more than fish and bread. He wants us to bring people to Him - our family and friends, our neighbors, and even the "the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind." (Luke 14:13)
That means intentional invitations.

Then God will show us how He will build His church! It's God's menu for a "picnic" at A Restoration Church! He can multiply even very small beginnings! In His hands small becomes abundance just like it did in that meadow long, long ago!

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