“I can’t serve anyone who isn’t sitting down.”
That’s what I say in my teacher’s voice when I’m dishing up snack to a group of kids.
Something about snack brings out the jittery excitement in most of us. We want to stand up to see what we’re having, what flavor, how much, is one serving bigger than the others and could we possibly have the biggest one?
Snack time protocols can be pretty basic, but we cover them almost every single time the goldfish crackers and apple juice come out:
Wash your hands. Sit in your seat. Wait quietly. No, you can’t have seconds until everyone else gets their first serving.
We’re just so eager.
I am so eager.
When I feel hungry… When I feel need… When I think that maybe provision will come and I wonder if I will get my share or if maybe I’ll be overlooked and remain empty. .. When I am anxious because I just don’t know and I feel like the answer won’t come.
That’s when I want to leap out of my seat and take some control. I want to make my need known, just in case God missed seeing it. I want to be sure He didn’t forget me or abandon me and He won’t leave me behind.
Maybe I even worry too often about getting my own “fair share,” too concerned with the sizes of others’ portions to be content with my own overflowing cup.
I read today an oh-so-familiar story, about how Jesus looked out over a hillside teeming with people. They had followed Him out when He sought rest. No one planned this extended teaching time. It just happened.
They looked for Jesus and when they found Him, He loved them enough to teach and teach and teach until the hour was late, and they were far from their homes. No one had packed any food except one little boy with a simple fish-and-bread lunch. (John 6:1-15)
This story reminds me that Jesus is able. That small numbers and meager circumstances cannot hinder Him from miraculous provision. I am reminded that He is an abundant, exponentially multiplying God, and that none of us could imagine in advance how He could feed over 5000 people with a boy’s packed lunch and still have baskets full of leftovers.
And this story reminds me to give Jesus what I have even though it could never ever be enough. I am the simple boy who can choose to offer what I have to Christ—meager as it is. I don’t selfishly hoard it. I don’t hide it away in embarrassment. I give it to Him because He is forever sufficient in my insufficiency.
But today, I read the story again and there is a new reminder.
In her book, “Living Beyond Yourself,” Beth Moore shares the step Jesus took that day on the hillside:
- He made them aware of their need.
- He took what little they had.
- He placed them in a posture to rest in His provision. He commanded them to “sit down” and fed only those who were “seated” (vv. 10-11)
- He gave them “immeasurably more” than they could “ask or imagine.” Eph. 3:20
This is the question I ask myself all day today:
How can I—in the midst of all of the everyday messes and the overwhelming worries—posture my heart in a place of rest?
Today, I struggled with a parenting decision, with a ministry decision, with a scheduling decision, with an organizing of my day decision and I was tangled up in my own need for clear answers, for assurances, and for provision.
My heart paces. I position myself to fix and control and make everything right all on my own limited strength.
Mostly, I fight this feeling of urgency, this pushiness I have to get answers now and see the results yesterday and have the blessings in hand already.
When can I see the abundance in place of the need?
But what if Jesus is poised with baskets in His hand, provision at the ready, abundance in waiting, and He simply asks that I sit?
Am I sitting down? Am I ready to receive?
The little boy with the lunch box gave everything over to Jesus, his tiny lunch, his small offering, but then he sat and waited to see what the Lord would do.
Oh, the sitting and the waiting, they don’t come naturally to me. So, I think it through today when the worries come—how can I sit in this situation, how can I posture myself to rest in Him, how can I wait and see what the Lord will do?
“Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him…” (Psalm 37:7a NASB)