Jesus is Enough
Matthew 14- Feeding of the Five Thousand
For a Video of this sermon and anthem, Click Here “Jesus is Enough” Matthew 14 (Feeding of the 5,000) at Lake Murray Presbyterian
It is important to remember the context of this. Jesus’ cousin and friend John the Baptist had been killed. Jesus predicts he will be killed too. He tries to get away to the desert- the only time it is recorded that Jesus tried to take a vacation- he goes to the wilderness- and 5,000+ people follow him. He does not complain. The disciples kind of do, and they want to protect him- but Jesus has compassion on the 5,000. He always does. We may not like interruptions, we may want to be isolated, but Jesus loved people more than comfort. We can learn from that.
“Jesus is Enough” Matthew 14:12-21; Sermon by Dr. J. Ben Sloan at LMPC
How much is enough? I have gone to one of these buffet restaurants and been behind a young hungry boy who piles his plate up to the heavens- He takes the ten pieces of chicken because he is hungry. His eyes are bigger than his stomach. Is that you? We ask ourselves, Do I have enough food, clothing, toys, money, insurance, time, energy, sleep, rest? Do I have enough? How much should you have to face the future, maybe how much to pay for college? How much to pay for another baby? How much debt can you handle? How much money should you have to retire- maybe retire early or late? How much do we have to have for vacation, or to do that extra for the children, grandchildren, or parents? My question I want to raise with you is where does God fit into this equation? My answer is this- you may not choose to believe it- but I challenge you to think about it- with Jesus you have enough. If you believe that, you don’t have to go into uber debt to get the basics of life. The feeding of the 5,000 teaches us that with Jesus we have enough. MANY FEEL WE DO NOT HAVE ENOUGH Carlos did not have a car, he had to walk to work five miles a day one way. He has no savings. He has a few chickens. He has a hut to sleep in with no water and no electricity. He cooks over a charcoal oven. But when you ask Carlos if he has enough, he will say, “I have Jesus and that is enough.” There are people that have two cars, a boat, two houses, no debt, but if you ask them if they have enough they will not mention Jesus, and they will say no- because they have a friend that has a nicer car, a nicer house, a farm and bigger toys. Envy and covetousness can rob us of our peace, contentment, and joy in the Lord. Envy is not a dream- it is false desire that turns into resentment toward others and eventually God. It is based on the idea that you have to have more to be happy. One minister says, envy asks, “Why them?” But gratitude asks, “Why me?” 1 Corinthians 4:8 says, “You already have all you need.” Paul says, “I have learned the secret of being content in whatever circumstances.” It is a learning process. Have you studied that? Do we always want to go through life thinking we can always have more and more? Do we always want to be hungering for more and never being satisfied? Ecclesiastes 6:9 says, “It is better to be satisfied than to be always wanting something else.” The disciples did not think they had enough. They wanted Jesus to send the 5,000 away. They only have five loaves and two fish. They say they do not have enough. The Gospel of John gives us some details that they said it would take 8 month’s wages and tells us all they have is a boy’s lunch- 5 barley loaves (the cheapest kind of bread), and two small fish- like two sardines. But Jesus says it is enough. He then give thanks. If the boy had not given anything- if he had not shared his lunch so to speak, there would be nothing to give thanks over. But a little in the hands of Jesus is enough. When the Lord give thanks- we can rest secure that it is going to be okay. But it is also true that the people came to Jesus without enough. They followed him to the wilderness, the other side of the lake where there was nothing without thinking of themselves. Jesus had compassion on them and provided for them. When we follow Him He provides for us. One question that should be raised when we say “do I have enough” is “ENOUGH OF WHAT?” In this passage we begin to see that if we have Jesus- it is enough. Our faith- though it is as small as a tiny mustard seed is enough to move a mountain. In John the disciples said it would take eight month’s wages to feed this many people. they did not have enough money, energy, resources to feed them. One of the problems is that the disciples were looking at the wrong resources. It was impossible to do God’s work on their own. But they had Jesus there. Jesus transforms helplessness into hopefulness. What the disciples needed was not more money- if they had a month’s worth it wouldn’t be enough. They didn’t need a hundred more loaves of bread. They needed God. Isaiah says, “Come You who are thirsty, come to the waters, you who have no money come buy and eat. Come buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread and your labor on what does not satisfy?” (55:1,2) They needed more faith in Jesus- the bread of life. He is the satisfier of our souls, and the provider of all we need. He works through His church- as He works through His disciples to feed the 5,000. But in the end they had twelve basketfuls- that is one basket for each of the doubting disciples. Paul says he has “learned the secret of being content in any and every situation- whether well fed or hungry.” Do you know what that secret is? Psalm 73 says it, “Whom have I in heaven but you and being with you I desire nothing on earth beside you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Desire God. Love God. Seek to grow in that and the things on earth will grow strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace. If you have enough God in your life- you have enough. JESUS IS ENOUGH- Five loaves and two fishes is not enough- but in the hands of Jesus it is. John 6 tells us that these things came from a small boy. The boy shared his lunch. He did not hoard his food, but shared it. Would you give Jesus your whole lunch to share with others? The boy believed he would have enough if he gave it to Jesus. A little child led the people, and leads us in this great act of generosity. John Piper has an interesting theory about this. He said that God created bread- or the water, yeast and fire and intelligence to make it so that Jesus could show us the illustration of what it means to believe and be satisfied in him. Bread exists to help us know what it is like to be satisfied in Jesus. Piper goes on to point out that it’s the same for water (John 4:14) and light (John 14:6) and every other good thing that God has made. Nothing exists for itself. “All things were created through him and for him” (Colossians 1:16). Every honorable pleasure that we have in the created world is designed by God to give us a faint taste of heaven and make us hunger for Christ. Every partial satisfaction in this life points to the perfect satisfaction in Jesus who made the world. “The pleasures of warm bread should send our senses and our spirits to Christ as the bread of life. The pleasures of cold water when we’re hot and thirsty should send our senses and our spirits to Christ as the living water. The pleasures of light making all other natural beauties visible should send our senses and our spirits to Christ as the true light of the world” (Piper). This story is not that Jesus fed 5,000- it is that Jesus is the bread of life who is not only able to meet our needs, but is able to satisfy us even in the desert. Jesus is the One who can meet our needs when we feel there is no other way to do it. We should seek our peace and contentment in Him. The Christian life is an interesting but important balance of motivation, purpose, reason to get out of bed on the one hand and peace, satisfaction, and contentment on the other. If all you have is motivation and purpose you will run yourself ragged. If all you have is comfort and peace you will not have a reason to live. Jesus is our provider of life and also the one who satisfies us with Himself. If we find our satisfaction with Him, then can that keep us from gorging ourselves so that what we have is enough? What would our closets look like if we lived for what is enough and not for what is extravagant? What kind of car might you drive if you were looking for enough car instead of the fanciest one? Jesus wants us to have enough. He wanted if for these 5,000 who came to hear Him. But He also wants us not to live for material things but to have satisfaction in Him. Simplify life. I think you might find the more simple it is the less you worry and the more free and content you are. I have heard people say, “If I win the lottery I will give to the church.” “When this deal goes through, when my ship comes in, when my inheritance comes- then I will have enough to give the extras to the Lord’s work.” I remember when the lottery first came out in Illinois and we were living in St. Louis, one new member of the church visited me in my office and he said, “I just want to tell you if I win that million dollars I will give 10% to the church.” Later he said, “I don’t know why God didn’t help me win.” Some say, “When I get this job or this raise I will have enough.” Others say, “When my babies get through day care I’ll have enough. Or when I get my kids out of college I’ll have enough.” Or “When I get through this sickness I’ll have enough.” But you can have enough right now if you focus not on what you have or don’t have but if you focus on Jesus. He is our peace no matter what you have. How much is enough? How about five loaves and two fishes for 5,000? HE is enough.