Has a verse you’ve read a hundred times ever struck you in a fresh new way? That’s what happened when I read: “His disciples had gone into the town to buy food” (John 4:8 NIV).
There the disciples were, with Jesus, the Son of God, the man who turned water into wine. The man who, a few chapters later, feeds 5,000 with a few loaves and fishes. Why didn’t Jesus just conjure up some sandwiches and potato salad?
Could it be that God wants us to participate with Him to accomplish His purposes? And as we work with Him, we get to know Him? We feel the satisfaction of doing His will?
Like the disciples provided food for Jesus, we provide God with something He needs—our interaction and support.
So I ask myself, am I in step with God? What else might I do? How might we as Christians better participate with God?
It all starts by sitting down and talking with God. In the Lord’s Prayer Jesus prayed: “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:9-13 NIV). In that day, bread was a staple. And for many, it’s a real need during this pandemic. What exactly are your needs? Bread or otherwise. Tell God.
Early Christians prayed for direction. “While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off” (Acts 13:2-3 NIV).
What kind of direction are you seeking? Whether you’re making a menu or making a move, pray about your next step.
And after you pray, get up and do something. If I’m praying for a different job, I must send out resumes. It’s no use wishing I had a different job. It’s no use complaining about my boss. I must do the leg work to find a different job.
If I want better health, I need to maintain a healthy body. That means exercising. That means denying myself food I know isn’t good for me, like the two Hershey Miniatures I just ate. Sure, I can have treats, but treats cannot be my way of life. The definition of a “treat” is something out of the ordinary that gives me pleasure. Not something I eat every time a hunger pang pokes.
If I want better relationships, I need to communicate. I need to ask forgiveness as needed. And grant forgiveness, whether or not others ask for it. That means I make an effort to stay in touch with kids and grandkids, reach out to friends who haven’t called, talk to people at church who I don’t know (once I get to go to church).
It’s no use complaining about being lonely, even in these lonesome times. If we have computers or phones, we can reach out. Others need our touch as badly as we need theirs.
If I want a friend to know Jesus, I can remind them of Who He is. If I want a better relationship with God, I can set a time to interact with Him. I don’t know about you, but it’s easy for me to forget about God. I get busy writing or cooking or talking and I totally forget about the God Who made me and craves my interaction.
You get the idea.
So what are your needs? What are you praying for? And how might you participate with God to answer your own prayers? Think about it.
I’m sure Jesus and His disciples enjoyed that picnic lunch, complete with ice cream for dessert. Well, maybe they didn’t have insulated bags in His day, so it was probably fruit.
God enjoys whatever we do to help Him accomplish His purposes in the world. And surprise! That makes our own lives more enjoyable as well. Now I must run, for I surely have things to do.