As a society, we have become obsessed with having ENOUGH. While how much we need to have enough differs for all of us, every single one of us wants to live with enough at all times. We need to have enough money – which means we have enough money to live on, enough in our savings account, enough for our kids to go to college, enough for our retirement, enough to own a home. And we need enough space – to live in, to store our valuables, and to be able to host other people. We also need enough when it comes to our accomplishments – enough to keep our jobs, to get promoted, and enough to impress those who matter to us. But:
What do you do when you realize you don’t have enough?
Do you just give up in despair?
Do you live with a scarcity mindset and hold onto the “little” you do have?
Do you blame God?
Do you spend your life longing to have what someone else has?
What if there’s another way to live when there isn’t enough?
What if not having enough is a pathway to the life we were created to live, rather than an obstacle to our ideal life?
For so many of us, we’d rather talk about having faith than having to exercise that faith. But without faith, we can’t please God. And the only way faith can really exist is when there is a gap between what we have and what we need. I’m calling this message, “More than Enough”.
In Mark’s Gospel, we have two miraculous feedings mentioned – one with 5,000 people and the other with 4,000. We’ll focus on the feeding of the 5,000 in Mark 6…but I’ll also point some things out from the feeding of the 4,000 in Mark 8.
Aside from the resurrection, the feeding of the 5,000 is the only miracle that’s recorded in all four gospels. While Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John didn’t share 100% of the same stories…they all knew this was one that had to be told. What made this moment so important that none of them could leave it out?
Mark 6:35-44 By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples came to him. “This is a remote place,” they said, “and it’s already very late. Send the people away so that they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” But he answered, “You give them something to eat.” They said to him, “That would take more than half a year’s wages! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?” “How many loaves do you have?” he asked. “Go and see.” When they found out, they said, “Five – and two fish.”
Then Jesus directed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish. The number of the men who had eaten was five thousand.
You have a hungry crowd in a remote place. The reason they’re in a remote place is because Jesus has sought to remove the disciples from the crowd, so that they could eat and rest. And yet, the crowd has followed them to this remote place, which can also be translated “wilderness, desert, or desolate place”.
For all of the Jews present, this scene undoubtedly caused them to recall another moment in their history. After the Israelites had been freed from their slavery in Egypt, they found themselves starving in the desert. And seemingly out of nowhere, God began to provide manna for them every day. They were told to “gather enough for the day” and to “gather as much as they need”.
Jesus has compassion on the crowd. His heart goes out to them. He sees that they’re like sheep without a shepherd. Jesus is moved by their spiritual and physical needs.
Jesus is compassionate towards us and our needs.
The disciples also want to meet the needs of the people in this crowd, so they say to Jesus, “Send them to the surrounding countryside and villages to buy themselves something to eat.” As in, “These people can’t possibly get what they need here. Let them go to the places where they can get something to eat.” And then Jesus tells the disciples something that seems absolutely impossible: “You give them something to eat.”
You. Not simply, “Stand back and watch me provide”, though He’s going to provide.
Jesus wants to involve you in what He’s providing for others.
The disciples respond by saying, “That would take more than half a year’s wages! Are we to go buy that much bread and then give it to them?” You know what they’re saying, right? “Jesus, you are crazy to think we have enough to give to this crowd of people.” Notice what they say in Mark 8:
Mark 8:4 His disciples answered, “But where in this remote place can anyone get enough bread to feed them?”
Where can anyone get enough? And in both instances, Jesus begins to reveal how we get enough. He essentially asks them this question:
What do you have in your hands?
Jesus wants to start with what we have, not with what we do not have.
Let’s stop feeling guilty or less-than because of what we don’t possess.
We’re saying, “I don’t have enough”.
I don’t have enough to live here.
I don’t have enough to get this job.
I don’t have enough to meet the demands of this parenting season.
I don’t have enough to be a leader at Epic.
“Jesus calls us to move away from the world of scarcity and from a way of thinking about scarcity, to a world of abundance and to a way of thinking about abundance.” Henri Nouwen, Following Jesus
Jesus doesn’t need you to have it all, but He does need you to use what you do have.
Jesus can multiply what we have, but only if we put it in His hands.
This is the parable of the talents in Matthew 25. Jesus gave 3 people different talents, amounts of money. He gave 5 to one, 2 to another, and 1 to the last one. The first two put into play what they had and it was multiplied. The last one hid his and lost an opportunity to have it multiplied.
Jesus always wants to do more than you can make happen by yourself.
Author and pastor Mark Batterson says that for our personal lives and for our churches – we should live with vision beyond our resources.
Remember how this started. Jesus has compassion on the crowd. He gives thanks to God and breaks the bread. Everyone who ate was satisfied and there were 12 basketfuls of bread and fish. What is Jesus proclaiming in this moment? That He isn’t only able to provide enough…but more than enough.
Don’t miss this part – Jesus gave his provision to his disciples so they could be the distributors of His provision. And this is exactly the mission Jesus has for us. Every time we pray for people, we’re distributing His provision. Every time we serve, we’re distributing His provision. Every time we give, we’re distributing His provision.
I know what it’s like to know that you don’t have enough for the thing that God is calling you to do with your life. When God began to stir our hearts towards starting a church in downtown San Francisco, I had some idea of what was required, and I had a pretty good understanding of what I did and didn’t possess. And the distance between those two realities led me to believe that there’s not enough. So what do you do when God calls you to something that you aren’t enough for and don’t have enough for?
Sometimes you tell him what you don’t have enough of.
I don’t have enough faith for this.
I don’t have enough experience for this.
I don’t have enough of a team for this.
I don’t have enough money for this.
But then he asks you, “Well, what do you have?”
I have a dream.
I have the ability to pray.
I have a leadership and teaching gift.
While I have never led a new church in San Francisco, I have seen You use me to do other things I never could have done on my own.
Aren’t you tired of only pursuing things that you can make happen on your own?
What if you were to put what you have into the hands of Jesus? What could He do with what you give Him? And then trust Him to do more.
There are two things we need to start giving Jesus every day: what we have in our hands and the faith that He’ll provide the difference between what we have and what is needed.
We’ve been doing this for 11 years as the Epic Church community…not perfectly, but faithfully. The vision was way more than what we could accomplish on our own. But in every season, we’ve used what God has given us and believed Him for way more than what we had and what we could do by ourselves. But we haven’t been by ourselves. Jesus has been building something beautiful in and through this church. Healthy. Strong. Resilient. Unified. Family.
And we’ve been distributors of His abundant provision in our lives. Kids getting fed. Foster children gaining families. Women finding dignity. Justice being served. Churches getting started in strategic cities in the U.S. and around the world. Kids growing up in a safe environment where they learn that God created them for a purpose. Students finding a place to belong with each other and with Jesus. Marriages happening because of this church and marriages being saved because of this church. Hundreds of people finding Jesus and being baptized. Thousands finding HOME here for the past 11 years. Thank you, God. And thank you, Epic Family.
When you have a faithful God who is more than enough, you know there must be MORE to come. More impact. More transformation. More worship. More people coming to faith. More light to this city. More hope to our world. More of Jesus.
1) Jesus, I give you my life. I can’t do it but you have done it for me on the cross. So I give you what I can give you today – my life.
2) Jesus, I give you what’s in my hands – my gifts, my experiences, my resources, my mind, my heart.
3) Jesus, we trust you to provide for the gap between what we possess and what you’re calling us to do as a church. Open up space – would you pray for God to give us faith and that He will provide everything needed for our future!
One more thing to show you. When John tells this story, he reveals something about what Jesus was doing for those present.
John 6:5-6 When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.
Jesus is asking us where we’re going to get enough to do the work He’s calling us to in the future. But he already knows everything He’s going to do in and through Epic Church. Will we trust Him to be enough for us, to be more than enough for us?