John 6:1-21

A couple of weeks ago there was a record Lotto jackpot; this coming week is an $80 million jackpot in the Powerball.  There have been lots of radio and TV segments that have devoted their airtime to making us think about what we would do if we won the lot, or even just a large portion of it.

I’m pretty sure that most people would be frustrated if they only won $1M in the $80M prize draw, they would probably feel hard done by, thinking about what could have been, if only so many others didn’t have those numbers too!

I think its human nature that we want more than we’ve got no matter how much we have, its usually called ‘greed’.

Sometimes people hear the story of the feeding of the 5000 and realise that there were twelve baskets of leftovers, and then interpret the text as saying that if you have faith in God he will give to you in abundance.  They twist it into a theology of glory and say that God will give me everything I need and then some.  If my faith is strong enough then God will bless me so much that there will be wealth left over.  This too, I think comes from our human greed.

The flip-side of that thinking is the feeling of failure or rejection by God when it doesn’t happen.  When the business venture fails, or they lose their jobs or get sick, they and others around them blame their lack of faith for the failure.  That is quite simply incorrect and all stems from a dodgy interpretation of the text.

My interpretation of this text and I hope my thinking is correct, is that God does provide for us, he has compassion for us, and gives us what we NEED.  Yes there are leftovers, these are to share with others, not to store up and keep for ourselves.

Did you notice that the disciples didn’t think that they had what it took to feed so many people? First the problem was that there was nowhere nearby to go and buy it, then they didn’t have the six months worth of wages that it would take to buy enough food for all of them.

Did you notice also that the boy who had the five loaves and the two fish gave everything that he had so that everyone else there might have something to eat.  These five loaves and two fish were enough for Jesus to put to use for the whole five thousand strong crowd that had gathered.

What the boy had was enough!  Jesus put the gifts that the boy had to good use, and everyone there was blessed by them.  They were simple foods, barley loaves and fish, nothing fancy or flashy, perhaps the cheapest and easiest to come by in the day.  But they were perfect for the job at hand.

Have you ever thought to yourself that you aren’t good enough to do a particular job, or to serve in a particular area?  I know I have, I spent years thinking that about myself, and it wasn’t until I finally gave in and said OK God, you’ve given me this much, now I trust you for the rest, that I was able to even make a start in ministry.

Over the last few years here there have been a number people who have humbly and prayerfully offered to use their God-given gifts for the building up of the church in various ways.  Rarely have I seen someone big-noting themselves, in fact I think never!

That’s exactly what was going on in our Gospel reading today.  We saw a boy giving what he had so that the people who had gathered to hear Jesus and/or be healed by him could stay a little longer and be fed.  Then Jesus played his part by enhancing that gift, by a miracle five loaves and two fish were able to feed five thousand with quite a bit left over.  The disciples didn’t think it could happen, the young boy probably didn’t either, but Jesus knew.  He also knew that the people might get greedy, that they might want to take him by force to make him their king.

They had seen how he could provide for their everyday needs, he could heal people, he was shaping up as the right guy to become their king and provide for them, so he withdrew to the mountains just in case.

Jesus knew what he was here for, it wasn’t to be king, it was to bring about our salvation!  He couldn’t be distracted from his goal, he was headed for the cross and death, so that we might have the ultimate gift, forgiveness of sins and eternal life.  Jesus achieved that humbly, not as a glamorous king, but simply, as a servant, suffering the death of a criminal, on our behalf, even though he was innocent.

In his death he provided us with life.  In his life he continues to provide for our every need.  We won’t necessarily have a ridiculous amount, beyond what we really NEED, but we will have enough.  Enough love, enough food, enough life for us to know him, love him and receive the gifts he offers to us, and use them in response to his love for us.

I can guarantee that each and every one of us will at times get greedy and not think that enough is enough, we will demand more from God, we will expect more from God.  We will put it all on ourselves, our abilities and the size of our faith.  We need to recognise that, the evil one wants us to be distracted like that.

God wants us to bring back to him what he has given us, our lives, so that he can provide for us, physically, spiritually and eternally.  He is our God, we should have no other God’s before him, not money or food or shelter, or wealth, none of those things should come before God.

When we are hungry, he will provide, enough, when we are lonely, he will provide, enough; when we are thirsty he will provide, enough;  He has promised to give us this day our daily bread, and we saw in the reading, that he also gives enough so that others might have enough too, so let’s not be greedy, lets share what we have with others and do so gratefully and prayerfully.