I was reading the Bible yesterday and came across a story that I had read many times before but never thought much of. All of a sudden It jumped out to me for the great danger it posed, both to those who witnessed it and to us today. I sensed a warning light flashing in my soul and so I paused for a moment to let the massive risk sink in fully.
Here is the story:
Matthew 15:33–39 The disciples replied, “Where would we get enough food here in the wilderness for such a huge crowd?” Jesus asked, “How much bread do you have?” They replied, “Seven loaves, and a few small fish.” So Jesus told all the people to sit down on the ground. Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, thanked God for them, and broke them into pieces. He gave them to the disciples, who distributed the food to the crowd. They all ate as much as they wanted. Afterward, the disciples picked up seven large baskets of leftover food. There were 4,000 men who were fed that day, in addition to all the women and children.
Crazy huh? I know. You were thinking I was talking about Daniel in the Lions den, Elijah calling fire down on Mt. Carmel, or Samson toppling the Philistine temple with renewed strength from the Lord. Those are the kind of miracles that we would tend to classify as high-risk. Lives were hanging in the balances. What in the world is so dangerous about Jesus handing out bread to a few thousand of his closest friends?
The danger that this miracle poses may not be obvious or life-threatening, but it is still capable of great harm. What is the risk? Being unimpressed. You see right before Jesus feeds the 4,000 in Matthew 15 He fed 5,000 in Matthew 14. Don’t kid yourself; feeding 4,000 people with only 7 loaves is in and of itself amazing, unbelievable, and get-on-your-knees-and-praise-God extraordinary. But compared to the super-sized one in the previous chapter it could come across as a smaller version of something that already blew our minds earlier on.
How little press this miracle gets is telling. The one we always hear about is the feeding of the 5,000. Had Jesus simply reversed the order and fed the 4,000 first it would have made more sense. It’s always nice to ramp up and work towards a climax. But here is what I sensed God speaking to me. His work in our lives and ministries is not necessarily going to be like a fireworks show. His goal isn’t to do flashier things and flashier things as He gears up for an impressive finale that’s plain for all to see. He simply wants us to be faithful with what is right in front of us and remain at a place where we are blown away that He would use us at all. Furthermore, the “greatest” thing God ever does through us might not even be something that at surface value is all that amazing.
That means that if you see 100 people come to Christ one week and 14 the next you celebrate those 14 people with all your heart. In Acts 2 there were 3,000 who came to know Christ in one fell swoop and then in Acts 3 one lame man believed on Jesus. You know what? Angels celebrated both miracles with much rejoicing. If your church grows by leaps and bounds one moment and then just by bunny-hops later on your heart should enthusiastically praise God that Christ is building His church.
The danger in all of this is real. If you become difficult for God to impress you will become difficult for God to use. The desire to grow and to be more effective is good and right. We are to give God our very best effort and seek after a 100 fold harvest every time. Jesus commended the shrewd servants in His parables over and over again. But it is imperative that we are careful to not become desensitized. We must not fail to be impressed by every single work of God–no matter the size.