Late in the afternoon the twelve came to him and said, “Send the crowd away so they can go to the surrounding villages and countryside and find food and lodging, because we are in a remote place here.”
He replied, “You give them something to eat.”
They answered, “We have only five loaves of bread and two fish—unless we go and buy food for all this crowd.” (About five thousand men were there.)
But he said to his disciples, “Have them sit down in groups of about fifty each.” The disciples did so, and everybody sat down. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke them. Then he gave them to the disciples to set before the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. Luke 9:12 – 17
Give it up
Poking at God about what I could cook for you today, he flipped this sizzling little fish story onto my brain plate.
Eyes scrunched on “impossibility” rather than on the Master of limitless capability, it’s easy for us writers to be disciple-like and condescend to natural-mindedness.
The crowds aren’t growing less hungry, aren’t inching any closer to food. Cloistered in the middle of nowhere, fatigued and famished, the beloved twelve scratch their heads before Jesus speaks: “Give the people something to eat.”
As we shake our heads at our scanty drizzle of words, Christ tells us the same: “Give the people something to eat. Don’t worry about sparse resources or small beginnings. If I’m in it, as sure as the heavens, you can make a difference.”
“Give them something to eat.”
Thrust in this love-test, the apostle John records a different angle in sharing Philip’s retort: “Eight months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite.” Andrew speaks up. “Here’s a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”
No matter how measly, how un-supersized our flounderings, if God calls us to serve fresh truth in a word-stir, if he speaks the royal “ok,” we step up.
Notice how Jesus dishes up faith-stretching instructions to the disciples. Directing five thousand people to sit in groups of fifty is no small potatoes. It takes time and sweat. Just like advancing in writing.
And so we lift our minuscule loaves and fish, and give thanks.
Wouldn’t you give your lunch to see the puzzled looks on those hungry faces when Jesus raises his bitty snacks to give thanks?
Thanksgiving flows from a posture of humility. The soul bends low, acknowledging our Sovereign Source, his power, ability, and desire to provide.
Jesus gives thanks and his fingers rip the bread. I wonder if he considers how his flesh will soon be broken to feed many.
Writers know about brokenness, the heart-deep pain-sap that drives and feeds our meanderings. With battle scars, we give thanks to the living Word who uses our words and wounds to paint blood-colored pictures of grace.
No matter how few or many we touch, we give thanks for the opportunity. Chosen conduits of hope, we’re blessed to be a blessing. Our words, charged with Spirit-power, awaken God-hunger. They sustain and multiply life!
Whenever we naturally live out thankfulness, we display God’s bigness to a hungry, watching world. We become more than wishful thinkers about remote possibilities. We reveal supernatural expectancy. This is how the world sees truth in us as we step up to our dream.
“It will take a miracle to get published!” We say it like miracles are viruses when they’re more likely God’s favorite pastimes.
Food in hand, Jesus says thanks because he expects the miracle. He prays and “looks to heaven.” He isn’t focused on his stomach, the food, or the crowd, but on his Father, the source.
The more we fix our eyes on God, the more we see miracles. The more we see miracles, the more we look for them in him.
“Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread…” God’s prayer transcends the “me,” and rests on “us,” because we, in the body, are one, and because love necessitates caring for those outside ourselves.
If we want to use our love gift to nourish souls, we can expect God’s provision to match his call. I haven’t forgotten that we can also expect spiritual warfare (perhaps even intensified tests from a rattled enemy), but ultimately mercy triumphs over Satan’s thievery. God promises to give us everything we need to win!
This gift, this impervious spawning of words, isn’t an instant dinner miracle; rather, it’s a progressive one, a long-term partnership with Chef Jesus.
Part of the miracle involves staying with the process. If God says, “Get everything and everybody in place,” that’s what we do. We plunge in for the long run, expecting to produce sweet fruits like patience and perseverance. Likewise, we expect readers, writers, characters, and observers to be transformed by our faithfulness.
We’re Christ-followers, sojourners on the cusp of miracles. In the course of our collective, out-of-this-world writer-journeys, we can expect nothing less than God cooking up his best.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11.
23 Replies to “Loaves, Fish, and Writers”
I needed to hear this today. Thank you, Cheryl!
Thanks Gillian. I think I needed it too. ; )
What a lovely devotion to read this morning before leaving for church services. Thank you my friend.
My pleasure, my friend!
Wonderful post, Cheryl. This was a great way to start my Sunday morning. Very insightful and beauitful writing. Thanks!
You bless me, Mindy! Thanks for the generous praise! I hope your Sunday was rich from beginning to end!
Cheryl, God has gifted you with the ability to write words that touch our souls at the perfect moment. Thank you for your obedience.
Humbled and honored. Beyond grateful for all of God’s gifts, and you’re one of them, Barbara!
Thank you, Cheryl! How I needed this right now in all its parts! God used you in my life today. Thanks for offering your loaves and fishes.
Melinda, I don’t know you, but I wish I could give you a hug for three reasons. One, you commented on my post. Two, I just went to your blog, read your recent post, “Sarx,” and I love your authenticity and surrender to Jesus. And three, I love giving hugs. : )
Thank you, Cheryl. A great reminder where to keep our eyes and our thoughts!
Amen, Jan. “Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face; and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.”
This small offering has touched me well, Cheryl. Especially since I just began a series on my blog that may impact people in a former communist country. I know God can use my meager words to bring people to Jesus. Thanks for verifying that for me.
Wade, God bless your blog and those who read it. I just peaked and read about God’s concern for widows and orphans. Good reminder about God wanting us to help those who can’t give back. Sacrifice. That’s the heart of God and the gospel alright.
I just LOVE this post, Cheryl! I agree with Barbara, “God has gifted you with the ability to write words that touch our souls at the perfect moment.” Delicious and satisfying food for this writer’s soul! Blessings!
Karen, I don’t know how God always does this, but He’s amazing, that’s for sure! I’m just sharing the Word. Dividing truth into bite-sized pieces. Thanks for partaking!
Thank you–I really needed to hear what you had to say. It’s not about ‘me’ or ‘my’ writing. It’s about how God will use what He gives me to write, to further His Kingdom.
You “get” it, Carole! Great summary of truth. Freeing, isn’t it? Go with God as you write. Feel the joy, you servant of the Word!
Okay, I came back to read this post for the third time and finally decided to tell you how much I like it. I love the thoughts and love the writing voice, the word choice. Thanks for this!
A third time? I’m honored! God bless you for taking time to say so! You made my day!
Oh, and if you’d like to read more, please feel free to sign up for my devotional blog, “Fresh Air.” Hope to see you there!
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