When Jesus Breaks Your Blessing

As a child of God, you can do some pretty amazing things! The greatness is not in the call itself, but in your perseverance.

Your home schooling today can lead to opening your own excellent Christian school in the future or becoming a consultant.

Your testimony, faithfully given at churches, women's fellowships and shelters may result in a published book. Your pulpit in Smalltown, USA can one day be heard around the world!

We all desire for God to multiply our effectiveness. We pray, like Jabez, for enlarged territories of influence. God is more than willing to say, "yes"…but only if we allow Him to break us!

Let's look compositely at the well-known story of Jesus feeding the five thousand. All four Gospels record it: Matthew 14:15-21; Mark 6:30-44; Luke 9:10-17; and John 6:1-14.

There's so many good teaching paths we can take on this one event, but for right now we'll stick to just one--being broken by God.

Instead of sending the people into the villages to buy food for themselves at the end of the day, Jesus commanded His disciples to see what was already available in their midst.

I personally think out of five thousand men (not counting women and children), some people were holding out on the goods, but the Scriptures record that the disciples found only one lad with five loaves and two fishes.

Nevertheless, let's assume he was the only one there who brought something to eat. Isn't it interesting that he alone came prepared?

Are you prepared?

Thousands want God to bless them, then they'll get busy.

You know what God wants you to do. Just like in the story, you may also be in a "desert" place of inactivity with no open doors of opportunity. Still, begin to fill that basket. Do what you can. Take notes while you're teaching your little one at home. Research different curricula. Start a blog.

Write down your testimony and practice giving it before family and friends. Writer, don't give up. One day when God uncovers your gift to a greater number of people, you will have a vast pool or ready resources for them!

Are you called to pastor, but only have five or six people show up in your home for a Bible Study on a good night? Feed them a sumptuous fare of the Word as if you were on the payroll of fifty thousand-member-church and leave the rest to God!

"Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1)

God gave me insight into what this verse means. He led me to think how I would plan to add a patio to the back of my house.

Since my husband works in construction, I knew that first I'd have to lay out the size, then prepare and compact the soil. Next, I'd frame it square with boards to hold the concrete while it sets. Finally, I would call the concrete guys to come and pour.

God interrupted me with a hitch.

Although I have chosen a company with an excellent reputation, they cannot give me a certain day and time of arrival.

How should I respond? I could be tempted to try to pour it myself (with disastrous results), or find a "jack of all trades, master of none" who's willing to do it quickly and cheaply.

Just think of truly gifted Christians who ruined their reputations and/or ministries because they took measures into their own hands to try to make a promise of God happen on THEIR schedule!

Suddenly, I got the whole faith thing.

What is my substance of hope? I dug out a portion for my porch, just didn't talk about it.

What is the evidence for my belief in the integrity of the concrete guys? I've framed it in the sure hope of their arrival. In other words, I've done everything necessary. Now it's up to the ones (or One) who promised.

God said faith is like looking every day for the truck to come. You know it will and you're ready!

Jesus will bless what you prepare.

Next, He will bless only what you surrender to Him. Fully.

I imagine at first the lad thought he'd never see his meal again. And he was just as hungry as the next guy. But one of Jesus' disciples told him the Master had need of it. Probably thinking that Jesus was hungry, he let go.

Is Jesus "hungry" for anything today?

If we define hunger as a need to be satisfied, regardless of whether it's physical, emotional, or spiritual, then we can see how Jesus' hunger to satisfy the desire of the Father to reclaim estranged and hurting humanity drove Him to the Cross, and how that longing overrode all self-interest and pain.

Is there something we can do to satisfy His desire?

In Psalm 2:8, Jesus was yearning for the nations and the uttermost parts of the earth as His inheritance.

Does this move you to let go, like the lad?

Speaking of the little guy, do you think he followed the disciple up to the front just to make sure the right thing got done with his offering, perhaps keeping one hand stubbornly on the other end of the basket? I doubt it.That's not really letting go, is it?

But how often does that end up being the way we claim we've let something "go to God"?

If he had followed the disciple to the front to make sure it was handled right, the lad would have watched the Master take his little gift, look up to Heaven and bless it.

Now, what would you have done at that point?

What do a lot of our brothers and sisters do? Not knowing the heart of Jesus and His hunger, they politely take back the food, dole out a little portion to the Lord, and then thank Him for blessing their meal.

Hey, I'm not kidding. To my sadness, I've seen so many in the Church snatch their gifts out of Jesus' hands after the blessing, thinking that's all there is to having a successful ministry.

They'll put their "five loaves and two fishes" on an impressive logo and may even come up with a catchy tune to go with it, but in the end, that's all they've got—five loaves and two fishes. Oh, I'm not saying that's bad.

Blessings are wonderful. When God blesses, that means the person or work bears His favor and approval. But that's just the beginning.

When I look for a genuine ministry—a gift or talent for God—I look beyond the blessing to the breaking. Then I know it's fulfilling the desire of Jesus for the nations and has no interest in self-promotion and comfort.

The Scriptures record that after Jesus blessed the food, He BROKE it, and gave the pieces to his disciples to distribute among the multitude.

You may be blessed, but are you broken?

Only people who stay around for the breaking become small enough (in their own estimation) to be distributed to the masses.

How does Jesus break us?

First, He breaks what man may have cruelly shattered because most of these areas of our lives never set right, creating lameness and places out of joint. Jesus makes a clean break so they can heal properly.

This is important because we're told in Ephesians 4:16 that the way the Body of Christ grows and builds itself up in love is when EVERY joint (that's you and me) is in its proper place and supplying love without hindrance.

When parts of our physical bodies are knocked out of joint, or a bone is fractured and is not healing, we are in pain…and everyone around us knows it!

In fact, the pain and the event that caused it is just about all we stay focused on and we can't be very giving or loving. Emotional pain does the same thing.

If you let Him, Jesus can end the pain from your past; but in order to do so, He's going to have to touch the source of the pain. Can you trust Him? You will never get better until you do.

Secondly, our wills need breaking because they exalt themselves against God and grieve the Holy Spirit. No sugarcoating here.

Let's be honest. When we hear of being broken by God, we run. We give excuses. When we refuse to have rogue elements of our wills tamed, we become our own worst enemy and self-centered.

Philip Keller, a shepherd turned noted author, relates how he dealt with stubborn, independent-minded sheep that wandered off to do their own thing and rarely submitted to His guidance.

He broke their legs.

But then he carried them on his shoulders until they healed.

Keller says you can tell a sheep that's been through this agonizing process: they're the ones who walk close by the side of their shepherd for the rest of their lives.

God knows the right way to break you in order to build you up. It is His way of taming your soul and maturing your ministry so He can trustingly thrust you into a real harvest.

Are you in the breaking now? Do not fear the pain of what Jesus is doing; He will carry you through it all and when it is all over, you will be closer to Him than ever before.

"The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite (bruised, humble) spirit." Psalm 34:18

Jesus wants to distribute you to His inheritance-- the multitudes, the nations. You are not blessed to be big; you are blessed to be broken into pieces!

Remember, Jesus sent disciples among the crowd to ask for available food. He then used other human beings to take the pieces and distribute them to the masses.

Are you so emptied of self-interest, that you can forgive others if they take your work, your words, your song, and your ideas (whether by mistake or intentionally)?

When people Email and ask if they may pass along one of my articles, I always say, "yes…please do so freely."

I've seen my work in a few places across the net—most people graciously give me credit, others post my articles as if they were the authors. Big deal. Where it counts, I'll be rewarded, just so I can pass it along to Jesus as my final gift from this earthly life.

Do you think the five thousand on the hillside that day even knew where their meal came from? Did they know it was a little lad who gave his all?

Probably not. At least not during their earthly lives. Those who made it to Heaven surely know. And the day will come when God, who keeps flawless records, will reward him in front of us all!

Which do you want? Most of your accolades and recognition here on earth by men or in Heaven by God? Our answer says a lot about our character.

God does instruct for us to give honor to whom honor is due, and double honor to those who labor among us. (Romans 13:7; 1 Timothy 5:17)

It delights Him when His saints are treated well and honored among the brethren, but when it doesn't happen--when we get ignored, bypassed or downright shafted, maligned instead of celebrated--well, you get the idea.

Hey, if you "bow up" (an old Southern expression about pulling yourself tight like a string on a bow, ready to shoot an arrow at someone with your words), more than likely you're going to get out of joint again. Your ability to supply love to the Body will be knocked out of service and you'll wonder, "Why isn't God using me?"

In fact, You are to be SO broken, that you can feed a multitude until ALL are satisfied and the overflow fills up twelve baskets!

Why did the Holy Spirit want us to know exactly how many baskets were left over?

The number twelve in Hebrew symbolism represents the complete government of God--twelve tribes, twelve Apostles. There's twelve months to a year, signifying a complete revolution around the sun. There are many other examples in the Bible and in creation.

That day on the hillside, the government of God completely manifested on earth and was visible: His will was done. The people perceived it as a miracle, but Jesus instructs us to pray every day for such events to occur.

So it's time we take the focus off what's in our baskets. That's not the point.

It's what we're willing to let Jesus DO with it.

You can feed yourself with a blessing, or go for broke and feed the nations.

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