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“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 distribute to the people.  They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.” (Luke 9:16-17 NIV) 

When you ask God to bless your efforts, you get leftovers.  Jesus asked God to bless what they had, five loaves and two fish. Luke tells us there were about 5,000 men there (Luke 9:14 NIV).  Culturally, during that time, the men wouldn’t have been alone, their wives and children would have been with them.  Scholars have argued that Jesus fed 15,000 – 20,000 people if you include them. Either way, it’s still a miracle. Once everyone was done eating, there were 12 basketfuls of leftovers.  When you ask God to bless your efforts, you get leftovers.

When you ask God to bless your efforts, you get leftovers.

I ask God to bless my efforts as I follow Him.  Following Jesus can be hard for me. For one thing, being a Christ follower requires that I love everyone (Mark 12:30-31 NIV).  Quite frankly, there are a lot of people I just don’t like.  People are rude, self absorbed and obnoxious. I am sure there are people on this earth who would say I fit that description as well.  People, including me, are hard enough to like, much less love. I need Jesus’ help if I’m going to love them. I need Him if I’m going to love people with something leftover.

Jesus loved people well.  For one thing, He died for us (John 3:16 NIV).  He loves us perfectly, His perfect love driving out all fear (1 John 4:18 NIV).  His love protects, trusts, always hopes, always perseveres (1 Cor. 13:7 NIV). To love people as Jesus loves us is difficult.  We can’t do it without His help, without His strength.  

And remember, Jesus was persecuted.  Jesus’s life was not a bowl of cherries.  He was persecuted from the minute His ministry started until the moment He died on the cross.  The more He was persecuted the less followers He had:

“Jesus fed 5000, but only 500 followed Him after lunch. He had 12 disciples but only 3 went further in garden, and only one stood with Him at the foot of the cross.  The closer you get to the cross, the smaller the crowd becomes.” T.F. Tenant

If anyone had a reason to complain about people, it was Jesus.  And He loved us anyway. And He wants us to do what He did. The only way I can do that is if I ask Him to bless my efforts. When He does, I have leftovers.

Question of the Day:

How do you need Jesus to bless your efforts?

Further Reading:  Deuteronomy 16:1-17:20 NIV, Luke 9:7-27 NIV, Psalm 72:1-20 NIV, Proverbs 12:8-9 NIV

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