Answering The Right Question Meets Every Need

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One of my favorite teachings is entitled “Don’t Be Hypnotized By The Appearance of Lack.”

Matthew 14:15 in the New Living Translation says:

“That evening the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away so they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves.”

The disciples brought Jesus a negative report.

Now get a picture of this…those closest to Jesus . . . those who had seen Him heal blinded eyes, restore lame limbs, and work mighty miracles. . .those closest to Him were hypnotized by the appearance of lack.

The message was clear. . .the disciples were saying, this is a “desert place” meaning there’s nothing here. . .no Chic-Fil A. . .no Subway. . .no Chinese buffet. . .we’d better send the people home because there’s nothing out here to eat.

Those closest to Jesus were still surveying situations with their natural eyes.  They were bound by their circumstances. Sometimes in life, we get so blinded by our situation that we can’t focus on what possibilities are in front of us.      

In our own lives all too often those closest to us are the ones who bring the negative report because they’re also hypnotized by appearance of lack.

I always get fired up about this teaching. . .however, this morning the Lord led me to read this account in the gospel of John.  Let’s look at John 6:5-13 in the New International Version:

 “5When 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?" 6He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.

 7Philip answered him, "Eight months' wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!"

 8Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, spoke up, 9"Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?"

 10Jesus said, "Have the people sit down." There was plenty of grass in that place, and the men sat down, about five thousand of them. 11Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.

 12When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, "Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted." 13So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.”

Now let’s look at John 6:5 (NIV) again.  It says:

“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?"

The scriptures say that Jesus was testing Philip.  John 6:6 (NIV) says:

“He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.”

Without question, Philip missed it.  Jesus asked Philip “where” they could buy bread to eat and Philip responded by totally ignoring the question that Jesus asked him.

Jesus wanted to know “where” and Philip was trying to figure out “how.”

John 6:7 in the New International Version says:

“Philip answered him, "Eight months' wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!"

According to the King James Version of the Bible. . .Philip said they only had about 200 denarii. . .which according to the Amplified Bible was about $40.  Regardless of the amount, Philip was ignoring the question that Jesus posed . . .  “where” they should buy the bread.

Philip was responding to what he perceived to be a financial question when in fact it was a question of faith.

Lest we too quickly condemn Philip . . . we need to ask ourselves how many times we have allowed fear and worry to grip our financial situations instead of claiming and confessing the precious promises of God?

Andrew was more helpful than Philip although it seems he still didn’t see the complete potential for miracle manifestation.

John 6:8 says:

“There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?”

Philip had asked “how” and now Andrew is asking “what.”

Once again, the wrong question is being answered. . .but at least, Andrew brought the little boy with the five barley loaves and two fishes.

In heaven. . . one of the people I want to talk with is the little boy with the loaves and fishes.  To Andrew. . .what the little boy had in his hand wasn’t enough. . .but to the boy it was everything he had and he was willing to share.

Now I’m going to say this again. . .because I really want us to get it down inside of us. 

Andrew who did a good thing. . .though he thought what was in the boy’s hand was not enough to be multiplied to met a need. Yet to the boy, what he was willing to offer was everything he had. . .and it was more than enough to meet everybody’s need. . .with plenty left-over.

Some of you on the phone call this morning. . .may feel like that what’s in your hand at the moment is not enough to meet your need. . .but when you release it into God’s hands it becomes more than enough to met your needs. . .with plenty left over to share with others.

2 Corinthians 9:7-8 in the New Living Translation says:

You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” 8 And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.”

Here’s a truth that every believer needs to grasp.

What you have in your hands right now is enough to meet every need that you have . . . when you give it to Jesus.

In your hand. . .it’s not enough. . .but in His hand, it’s more than enough.

When you hold on too tightly to what you have. . .you’re operating in limitation . . . but when you release it, God then begins to increase it.

Jesus started with what He had. . .offered it to God. . .and in simple faith expected the increase.  He didn’t allow the limited resources given by the little lad to stop Him from taking action. . .He acted in faith on what He had available to him at the moment.

Too many times, I’ve heard Christians complaining about what they don’t have instead of praising God for what they do have.

As you examine your current financial situation. . .regardless of how much debt you have or the balance or lack thereof in your investment portfolio. . .it’s important that you answer the right question.

Don’t concern yourself with how God is going to deliver you from your current financial situation or mess. . .the question is where.

Where does God want you to sow?

The problem with a lack of food in John 6 was solved not by complaining or questioning but by giving.  The little boy gave all he had to the work of the ministry and people were fed.

Not only that, there were twelve baskets full remaining. . .the little boy who gave all he had was able to return home with increase and a powerful testimony of how Jesus had used by what was in his hand to bless so many others.

When we read the word of God, we must focus on what the book is saying. . .not in light of our circumstances. . .but in our faith in the Word of God. . .and His ability to multiply what we have to meet every need.