Banging the same old drum


I love how in the story of the feeding of the 5000 a boy brings his small packed lunch as a solution for feeding a vast crowd of hungry people. It’s such a simple solution; bold and ambitious to think that such a thing might work. In the right hands – Jesus’ hands – something miraculous happens and that simple packed lunch is the perfect solution to the problem.

We don’t see the same things happening today; we have other methods of meeting needs. The Ice Bucket Challenge raised an incredible amount of money in a very short space of time. In the right hands – Facebook and social media – something miraculous happened. A simple offering, a bucket of Ice, wow! No need to trouble God. ‘Put your feet up big guy, we’ve met this need, and we’ve got it covered. This causes me a problem though, a twofold problem. Firstly this sort of attitude goes against a lot of what the Bible teaches, secondly I find myself applying this attitude to my life from time to time.

I’m a creative problem solver. My brain is full of ideas. I have studied how to extract and maximise these ideas. I know how to solve problems, how to fix things and also how to create things. I am a very capable person. Is this simply the way God created me? Yes, I think so. I believe he knew before I was born the skills and abilities that I would have as an adult. I think he also knew that at different points in my life I would struggle with this independent capability. He knew that silently as I worked away at things I would be saying in my mind, ‘it’s okay God, I can fix this on my own, I’ve got this one covered.’

If I had been one of the disciples I would have been doing rough calculations about the number of people anticipated to be in the crowd; probably earlier in the day. Once it got to the time when the people were hungry and Jesus said, “you feed them” I would have gone over quietly (humbly) and said, “All sorted, I ordered pizza earlier, it’ll be here in 10 minutes.” Everyone loves pizza, right? I may have even been giving Jesus a double thumbs-up and big (but humble) smile. My solution to the problem probably wouldn’t have made it into the Bible. Yes it’s quite a brilliant feat of planning, but it doesn’t involve Jesus and it is not miraculous.

The Bible teaches me that God is amazing, that He can do things that I wouldn’t dream of being possible. It also teaches me that through Him I can do things that I wouldn’t dream are possible. In His name I can pray and miraculous things can happen. He is the ultimate creator – look at the world around you, look at yourself – and His creativity and power is available to me because I am a Christian.

So my daily challenge – and believe me I truthfully do find it a challenge – at work where I use my creativity problem solving skills, is to keep including God in all that I do. When I have an idea and think I’ve found a solution that I ensure I bring it to God, like the boy offering his lunch and say, “this is my solution, what can you do with it?” I understand enough of the Bible and have personally experienced how God can do amazing things with the little we offer. I know that working in this way is simply the most brilliant and satisfying way to work; so as long as I work with God, rather than by my own capabilities, I’m onto a good thing. Try it for yourself; offer God your small amount that doesn’t look like much and see what He can do with it.
Paul Noble