Proximity

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by Beth Parkinson

Creative Media Assistant, CBN Europe

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When Jesus is handing out miracles, where do you position yourself? In the crowd, watching? Far away – disinterested? Or on your feet serving? Today, Beth Parkinson discusses the idea that those closest to the miracle are those serving…what do you think?

Blissful Ignorance

Have you ever visited a church gathering only to realise that it was actually a ‘Bring and Share’ kind of event and you completely missed the memo? You partake of the message shared, and then, almost as if by magic, food appears in plentiful supply and you enjoy a bit of quiche, cold pizza and maybe some potato salad?  

I was thinking over what it must have been like for the people who showed up for the sermon on the Mount, who suddenly had a beautiful fish supper served to them after a full day of teaching from Jesus.

Sure, they would have heard the disciples going round and asking if anyone had brought picnic goodies – and known that they, and maybe the person next to them too, had not thought to bring a sharing platter or bargain bucket. But soon enough they were being divided up into large groups and seated before the food was brought round.

Those furthest from Jesus would have had least idea of the scrambling around the disciples had been doing, urgently scraping together all they could, coming up short and having to take a meagre 5 loaves and 2 fish to the Messiah. In what I imagine was blissful ignorance, those crowds sat back and let the provision come to them.  

But all that scurrying around did something for the disciples. It set a desperation within them – only as each of them came back from their food-scouting mission amongst the crowds, empty-handed, just like the disciple next to them, did they realise how impossible dinner really would be that night.

For some, it created doubt, maybe even fear, but at the very least, a very real understanding of how little they had – ‘Send them away, Lord, we can’t feed them all,’ ‘It would take a year’s wages to buy food for all of them’. 

‘But all that scurrying around did something for the disciples. It set a desperation within them…’

Position…Perspective

And yet – when heaven interrupts our doubt and meets us at the very bottom of the barrel, as we bring our small handfuls of supply in the face of a vast need, how much greater does the miracle appear?

You see, position changes our perspective. 

Knowing our lack, but at a distance from Jesus, can only bring fear, and a desperation to hold on to the very little we have. But being in the presence of God and not bringing our needs to him is like standing hands outstretched but tight-fisted and unable to catch all He’s preparing to pour out.

When we acknowledge our lack, but do it in the presence of our Provider, we have the makings of a miracle.

When we obey even His most incomprehensible directions in faith, preparing those around us to receive a blessing while we still don’t see it ourselves, we set the stage for God to do the greatest miracles.

The best place to witness a miracle is to be serving.

As the bread and fish multiplied in their hands, I can only imagine the soaring joy in the hearts of the disciples, the look of wonder as they shared what looked like bread and fish – but what was really revelation! Heaven come to Earth. A loving Father feeding his kids. The Power of the Gospel in their hands. 

If proximity to the Gospel changes perspective, don’t get me a front row seat… I’ll be waiting in the wings, ready. 

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