I wrote this piece exactly three years ago, but never posted it on my blog.
“Jesus wants everything.” This is something I both have to and want to deal with every, single day. And goodness, but most days it’s not even close to being easy! There are plenty of battles in the evening that leave me asking, “Is it that Jesus asks for too much or that I’m willing to give him far too little?” And I think I always know the answer to that question.
But tonight I want to throw out the less obvious everything. We know that Jesus deserves our plans, dreams, hopes, and futures. But what about the little things, the small, insignificant things, or those things about us we wish would just disappear? What about those little pieces of ourselves? What about them?
Well, this year has been a year of God both going after the big everythings in my life like church, missions, moving, and work; but it has also involved some giving of the smaller everythings to him.
Matthew 14 and John 6 with the feeding of the five thousand provide the backdrop for what I’m trying to get at. It has gotten late and the disciples tell Jesus to send the people away, as they do not have the resources to deal with this food crisis. But Jesus tells them to do something about it and “give them something to eat.” Then they tell him the obvious, “We only have five small loaves of bread and two fish.” And you can almost hear the tired sarcasm wanting to come out, “Duh, Jesus. Like this is even worth mentioning? There is nothing you can do with this.”
But Jesus does the exact opposite. He doesn’t tell them, “You know, guys, you are so right. We do need to send them away, as there is nothing that can be done with that little bit of food.”
No, he tells them to have everyone sit down. And if you’re already afraid you’re going to look like an idiot, it’s only going to get worse having everyone sit down-with all eyes focused on what’s going on up front. I can feel the suspense in this one line, as now you have an extended moment of awkward silence while you wait for God to show up and do something. Then Jesus takes the bread and fish and thanks God for them. He breaks the bread and hands it to his disciples to give to the 5000+ people. And the verse says they all ate and were satisfied. And from the fragments given are fragments that remain.
Jesus wants everything, even those things that seem at best insignificant and at worst, worthless. He wants us to freely offer ourselves in service to Him for however he chooses. Sometimes the little everythings he is asking for are the things we most hate about ourselves or the things that make us the most uncomfortable.
For me, that is leading small group discussions, public speaking, participating in small groups, and sometimes, just plain, old group interactions. Being an introvert, a writer, and a thinker, I prefer to remain on the sidelines and in silence. But oftentimes, Jesus calls us into the mess and chaos of the very things we want to hide or flee from.
We think that there is nothing God can do with the fragments of our lives. But I wonder if he isn’t just asking for a willingness from us to simply place the pieces of our very lives in his hands. And leave them there. Let him bless the fragments. And from fragments given come a meal.
And maybe there isn’t a future in public speaking for me, but I don’t think that’s the heart of the issue at all. It’s not so much of can I speak and share about Jesus, as am I willing to speak and share about Him? I think a willing heart will agree to follow Jesus, even when it doesn’t make sense, looks hopeless or like a silly waste of time, or it outright scares us. A life that says “yes” to Jesus will give him every little thing-whether it seems like it’s worth something or not.
It is holding up our hands in surrender to King Jesus and simply saying, “It’s all yours, Jesus. Take it all.”