I'm anticipating preaching in Haiti next Sunday. I almost always get asked to preach. You know, the white guy shows up so let's ask him to bring the message. I'd usually rather listen and participate and try to learn something from Christians in a different culture. But this time I've got a passage on my mind I can't shake - Jesus feeding the 5000. You know the story. There are 5 moves in the story that are speaking to me, I think will speak to Haitians, and I hope will speak to us here in the U.S. Here's the sermon "outline" I'll have in my head:
1. The first move in the story is that Jesus sees the crowd and has Compassion. In spite of the fact that He was trying to get away for some rest and they chased Him down. When we see a mob of sinners, especially folks who are interrupting our plans - is our first move Compassion?
2. When the disciples report that the crowd is hungry, He looks at them and says "You feed them." This seems to be the normal way needs get met. By us. Not by turning rocks into bread. Or by manna appearing like dew in the morning. Jesus disciples get the assignment - the Responsibility - to feed the hungry.
3. Jesus doesn't focus on the need! They're hungry. But there's no calculation of "how much food would it take?" No listing of "how many people are here?" Instead He asks "What do you HAVE?" It's pitifully inadequate. 5 loaves and 2 fishes. But that's what's in their hands. How would it change our lives if we quit reciting needs and starting listing our Assets - no matter how small. And then . . .
4. He asks them to hand over what little they do have. "Bring it to me." I mean, at least by stealing the little boy's lunch the 12 disciples could have a little supper to hold them over for the walk back to a village. And now, though having little, they're being asked to have nothing. By entrusting it all to Jesus' use - Submitting to His leadership and lordship. Feel the point coming?
5. He blesses it, gives it back to them (hooray!) and instructs them to give it away (uh-oh). Radical Generosity. Radical trust required. And in their Generosity, the 5000 are fed. And twelve baskets are left over. Enough for a basket full for each one of them . . . Jesus economics.
Seems to me that Compassion, Responsibility, Asset-focus, Submission and Generosity might change me. Us. And Them. What do you think?