Sunday, January 15, 2017

2 Kings 4:42-44 -- On Loaves

"And there came a man from Baal-shalisha, and brought the man of God bread of the firstfruits, twenty loaves of barley, and full ears of corn in the husk thereof. And he said, Give unto the people, that they may eat.
And his servitor said, What, should I set this before an hundred men? He said again, Give the people, that they may eat: for thus saith the Lord, They shall eat, and shall leave thereof.
So he set it before them, and they did eat, and left thereof, according to the word of the Lord."
2 Kings 4:42-44


This is an interesting story about Elisha.  The story is very similar to some stories where Christ fed the multitudes, once with five loaves and two fishes (Mark 6:41), or, when nothing at all had been brought (3 Nephi 20:6).  It's also similar to the story of the widow of Zarephath (1 Kings 17:14) where Elijah promised that her food would not run out until the rain returned.

These stories make me question the whole idea of scarcity.  The idea that we don't have enough.  Enough food, but other things as well.  Perhaps money, time, patience, willpower, love, forgiveness, talent, intelligence, determination, etc.  Perhaps we can't snap our fingers and conjure bread out of thin air... but apparently Christ could, and his prophets could do similarly in his name.  So when we think of limitations... internal *or* external, we have to wonder how real they are, if God could take 20 loaves, or 5 loaves, or no loaves at all, and still provide bread to everyone.  And if we are to walk in his path, perhaps we shouldn't let the idea of scarcity stop us so easily.  Thinking that we don't have the time or the money or the energy or the patience might be self-limiting, when we actually have access to much more than we imagine.

I'm not saying that we shouldn't manage our own anxiety levels, or take on more when we are already overwhelmed.  I don't want anyone to have a heart attack. :)  We should take care of ourselves and be kind to ourselves as well, and we should certainly budget our money and not expect to win the lottery.  ... I'm just saying that we should question the limitations that we lay on ourselves as well.  Just like they encourage students to add "yet" to the end of the statement when a kid says they aren't good at something... so should we.  And when we don't have time, maybe we should stop and think about where we could make some time.  When we can't do something by ourselves, as happens often because we are only mortal after all, we should also consider that *God* can help us do anything.  He is a God of miracles, after all.  Today, if there is something worth doing, instead of coming up with reasons why we can't, let's reject that idea of scarcity.  Let's find the miracle, do the impossible... let's go to God and tell him that we don't know how to do it, how to fit it in, how to make it happen, but it's worth doing, and we want to do it.  And maybe sometimes the Lord will show us why it is a bad idea.  That happens.  But other times, he'll be glad that we are willing to do it, and he'll give us the means and the chance to truly try.  Let's do good, and be the miracle in other people's lives today, with God's help.

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