All God Wants is You
I. “Here’s a little boy who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are these for so many?”
I don’t know about you, but this is how I often feel. It was definitely the case on Monday morning when my alarm went off, and I groaned: Is it really worth getting up? What good can I do?
I often wonder, why on earth anyone thought to invent a mirror. You unplug the alarm, bumble into the bathroom, flip on the light, and after that first shock of pain when the darkness is no more, what do you see? There you are in the mirror: hair flat on one side and jutting out on the other. Welcome to the day! The scripture, “beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord” (2 Cor. 3:18) is not what comes to mind.
What do you have to offer to God?
We can feel small sometimes. When you think of the accomplishments of great men and women and the spiritual heights of the saints, everything that we might be able to pull off looks a little
II. Well, what do you think the disciples felt when Christ told them to feed the crowds?
Five thousand men were gathered, along with their wives and children. A huge crowd had come out to the desert to follow a Prophet, and they were hungry. So Jesus turns to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?” Philip answered, “Six months’ wages wouldn’t buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.” Andrew follows, “There’s one boy here, with a few loafs and a little fish.” I’d pay anything to be there for that passing moment and see our Lord’s face. You can imagine a quiet, coy smile, when He told the crowds to take a seat. “He took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, He distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted. When they were satisfied, He told His disciples, ‘Gather up the fragments left over, so that nothing may be lost.’ They gathered them up, and from the fragments of the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten, they filled twelve baskets” (John 6:1-15).
Five barley loaves and two small fish.
That was enough, and it’s enough in our lives too.
III. There’s a similar story in the Old Testament.
Elijah was traveling to Sidon where there was a great famine, and he met a widow gathering firewood. He hadn’t eaten all day so asked for a little water and bread. The widow was starving and apologized, “As the Lord your God lives, I do not have bread, only a handful of flour in a bin, and a little oil in a jar; and see, I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die.” But Elijah had something in mind. “Don’t be afraid…go and do as you have said, but make me a small cake from it first, and bring it to me; and afterward make some for your self and your son. For thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the Lord sends rain on the earth.’” The woman took a leap of faith and made the man a little cake, and from that moment until the last day of the famine, her home never went without food (I Kings 17:8-15).
IV. These are simple stories but colossal Truths.
One woman gave the prophet a little flour, and God filled her home with food. One boy gave up a few loafs and a couple fish, and God fed a multitude. The hope this brings is plain: God doesn’t need much to work with.
He doesn’t ask for supermen or superwomen. He only asks for you, and you are enough.
That’s the phrase on a T-shirt they sell at Frank & Joe’s Coffee House. For the longest time it made me cringe. For one, I don’t like those cute, inspiration phrases about self-esteem and happiness. They always seem a mile wide and an inch deep. For another, every time I see these T-shirts I think, “We’re not enough. We have to change. We need God.” But Monday morning, after the initial shock of the alarm clock and the bathroom mirror, that phrase struck me in a new way.
We are enough. We’re enough to become God’s vessels.
V. “He has saved us and called us to a holy life – not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose” (2 Tim. 1:9). “In a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay…If anyone cleanses himself…he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work” (2 Tim 2:20-21).
I once asked a monk why he’d become a monk. He told me simply, “I looked around at everything God had given me and I thought, what can I give back to him? How can I repay God for all His love? I have nothing. I am nothing. All that I have is myself. So I gave Him myself.” That is all God asks from us. Can you give Him yourself?
I woke up Monday morning and thought, ‘What good can I do?’ The task ahead seems so daunting and I feel so small. But I heard that cheesy phrase on the T-shirts, “You’re enough.”
VI. Here, as a parish, at St. Benedict Orthodox Church, we can also feel small and insignificant.
There are hundreds of churches in Wichita Falls. Most of them are larger, with more resources, bigger bank accounts, and a lot more hype. Northern Texas is certainly no hub for Orthodox Christianity. Most don’t know we exist. Those who do scratch their heads to understand what on earth we are. We don’t fit in with the Protestants. We don’t fit in with the Catholics. Being Orthodox in America must feel a bit like being the redheaded stepchild.
But when I look around at these pews, when I consider each of your personalities and each of your gifts, I know, “We’re enough.”
The Orthodox Church is the Church of the Apostles, founded in the first century. It is the Church that gave the world the bible. It’s the Church that has held on to a Way of Life through every century since Christ, through persecution and oppression from every direction. The Orthodox have been tortured and murdered under the Roman and Ottoman Empires, by the Vatican City and the Bolshevik revolutionaries, and today, in thousands, by Islamic forces throughout the Middle East, because the Church refuses to compromise Her beliefs.
Why? People are starving.
We Christians have to wake up and look around us. This isn’t a Christian nation any more. In our city of 100,000 alone how many are depressed, starved by secularism and looking desperately for Truth?
God has planted this tiny Orthodox community in Wichita Falls for a reason, and He knows that we have enough to accomplish His work. We are enough. You are enough.
Go out and do His work.
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.