There are always different ways to look at things.
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Some look at a glass that’s filled halfway and say “it’s half full.” Others would say “it’s half empty.” And still others would say “there is no line, so it’s neither half full nor half empty.” Others might say “Is that a glass?”
Perspective. How we view life and others is shaped by how we grew up and what challenges and struggles we went through.
Take the story of Philip and Andrew, two men who decided to leave all and follow Jesus. That was actually rather bold since they really didn’t know Him. Jesus was unemployed and homeless. Not too many people want to follow someone with those labels.
Yet they did. And one day, because the people heard that Jesus had healed the sick, large crowds followed Him to a hillside where they sat to hear what He had to say.
Jesus looks at Philip and says “Where shall we find bread for this people to eat?” John 6:5
Philip, undoubtedly, looks around. There is no store here on the mountainside. And they don’t have enough money to feed all these people. Jesus is asking a question that Philip believes has no solution. So he states clearly, as might I, “It would take more than a half year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite.” John 6:7
Indeed, that would be me. Realistic. Philip and I would get along well.
Another follower of Jesus named Andrew speaks up and says “Here is a boy with 5 small barley loaves and 2 small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” John 6:9
Bless Andrew’s heart — he has a limited solution. Perhaps they can feed the ones that are closest to them. But, they certainly can’t feed them all!
Then we have the Jesus’ solution — the can-do and relying on God solution. “Have the people sit down.” That’s what Jesus says. No explanation. I can visualize Philip and Andrew wondering why. They can’t feed this many people. Oh — perhaps Jesus just wants them to rest. All 5000 men? That didn’t include the women and children. But — okay. The people sat down on the grass.
Then Jesus does something we don’t think to do very often if at all. He gave thanks for something that hadn’t happened yet. “Jesus 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.” John 6:11
It takes a certain mentality to think that all is going to be well even when the signs are not there. For after giving thanks, the Bible says “When they had all had enough to eat …” John 6:12 Wait a minute. Something isn’t right here. We only had 5 loaves and 2 small fish. And 5000 people. And they ALL had enough to eat. Not only that, the rest of the story tells us there were leftovers that they had to gather.
IF this story is true (of course I believe it is), I have to imagine that Philip and Simon were in a state of shock. Going through the motions and not knowing what was happening. But how different their “view” now — when one is with the Son of God outlooks change.
It’s called a miracle. A wonder. Or, as dictionary.com defines it “an effect or extraordinary event in the physical world that surpasses all known human or natural powers and is ascribed to a supernatural cause.” I believe this would qualify.
Three different people looking at one scenario and all having different thoughts about what could and couldn’t be done. But only one — the one with the closest relationship to God — knew there were possibilities.
Funny — I sometimes go through life the same way. I believe something can’t happen because of circumstances and then it does. Or vice versa.
Being a realist can have disadvantages . A square box is sometimes all I see. I can’t see that there’s a place inside the box that can be used or that I can stand on the box or that maybe the box needs unwrapping.
Next time I have a problem, I need to ask myself if I’m limiting my thinking and missing out on possibilities — possible because of dependence on God.
To read the whole story in the Bible, click here.
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