Join us today for an episode about the power of giving thanks...

Today's episode is focused on John 6: 1-24...

In today’s Spiritual Foundation Episode I talk about John 6: 1-24.  I share why focusing on the how often misses the point.  I also share why gratitude is a spiritual discipline.

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Episode 1377: After Giving Thanks

[00:00:00] Scott Maderer: Thanks for joining me on episode 1, 377 of the Inspired Stewardship Podcast.

[00:00:08] Roy Heintz: I'm Roy Heintz. I challenge you to invest in yourself, invest in others, develop your influence, and impact the world by using your time, your talent, and your treasures to live out your calling. Having the ability to lead like a coach is key, and one way to be inspired to do that is to listen to this.

[00:00:42] Scott Maderer: We're recognizing the benefits that we enjoy without effort that comes from all of our connections. We are a family. We are a family that's invited to a seat at the table [00:01:00] by Christ Jesus. Welcome and thank you for joining us on the Inspired Stewardship Podcast. If you truly desire to become the person who God wants you to be, then you must learn to use your time, your talent, and your treasures for your true calling.

[00:01:16] In the Inspired Stewardship Podcast, you will learn to invest in yourself, invest in others, and develop your influence so that you can impact the world.

[00:01:37] In today's Spiritual Foundation episode, I talk about John chapter 6, verses 1 through 24. I share why focusing on the how so often misses the point. And I also share why gratitude is a spiritual discipline.

[00:01:54] John chapter 6 says, After this, Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, also [00:02:00] called the Sea of Tiberias. A large crowd kept following him because they saw the signs he was doing for the sick. Jesus went up the mountains and sat down there with his disciples. Now the Passover, the festival of the Jews, was near.

[00:02:12] When he looked up and saw a large crowd coming towards him, Jesus said to Philip, Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat? He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he was going to do. Philip answered him, Six months wages would not buy enough bread for each of them to get even a little.

[00:02:30] One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to him, There's a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they among so many people? And Jesus said, Make the people sit down. Now there was a great deal of grass in the place, so they sat down, about five thousand in all. Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated.

[00:02:53] So also the fish, as much as they wanted. And when they were satisfied, he told his disciples, Gather up their [00:03:00] fragments left over so that nothing may be lost. So they gathered them up and from the fragments of the five barley loaves left by those who had eaten, they filled 12 baskets. When the people saw the sign that he had done, they began to say, this is indeed the prophet who has come into the world.

[00:03:16] When Jesus realized that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain by himself. When evening came, his disciples went down to the sea, got into a boat, and started across the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. The sea became rough because a strong wind was blowing.

[00:03:35] When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near to the boat, and they were terrified. But he said to them, It is I. Do not be afraid. Then they wanted to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the land towards which they were going. They were terrified.

[00:03:51] The next day, the crowd that had stayed on the other side of the sea saw that there had been only one boat there. They also saw that Jesus had not gone into the boat with his [00:04:00] disciples, but that his disciples had gone away alone. Then some boats from Tiberias came near the place where they had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks.

[00:04:08] So when the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum looking for Jesus. If you think about it, this is probably one of the most famous miracles in all of the Bible. Again, sort of like some other Bible stories, so famous that even people that aren't necessarily Bible followers, you know, Bible readers or churchgoers know it.

[00:04:35] This miracle is actually the only miracle that appears in all four Gospels, which is kind of amazing when you think of it. I mean, is it that a picnic out with 5, 000 of your closest friends is the only story that kind of captured all of the Gospel writers? What was it about this story that made them all want to make sure that they recorded it?[00:05:00]

[00:05:00] I mean, maybe they just like picnics, right? Actually... It's kind of one of those things where there's a lot going on in these verses, and it's kind of hard to narrow it down when you're talking about it. There, there's a lot of different nuggets in there that you could focus on. We could talk about how John leaves clues hidden in the text.

[00:05:20] For example, anytime there's a mountain in the scenery, it's usually a sign that some, hey, something important is going to happen. Mountains are where there's a divine human conversation or connection in John's gospel. But here it's also Jesus is shown to sit down, which at that time in that place, a sitting position was the position that the rabbi or the teacher would take.

[00:05:46] So it's showing that Jesus is, is teaching something. He's got something important to get across. He's, he's got a point to teach. John also mentions that the Passover was near. Again, an important moment that's coming up, some [00:06:00] foreshadowing that something big is coming. Three out of the four gospel writers actually link this story of the feeding of the 5, 000 to the one that I just read as well about the walking on water, the boat story.

[00:06:16] In some versions, there's different things that happen there, but all three out of the four, not actually all of the Gospels, tell a version of that story. So apparently there's something pretty important to that story, too. And at one level, it maybe is just the recognition that hunger and fear are fairly universal needs that we all experience, and therefore those are needs that Jesus recognizes that meeting these needs is important.

[00:06:47] We could even talk about the fact that at the end of both stories, there's this sort of attempt to control Jesus in a way, and they don't really work, meaning Jesus [00:07:00] doesn't come to us on our terms, but on his terms and on his timing. There's a lot more in Stu as well. There's a lot of other levels and nuggets that you can dig into, but in a way, this, this event is also...

[00:07:15] What I used to do a lot as a teacher. It's a, it's a pop quiz here. The disciples have been with Jesus a long time. They've seen him do many miracles. And here when these people come up, the immediate reaction is how are we going to take care of all of these people? Good on them that they know they need to take care of them.

[00:07:34] They know that they need to help them. They want to help them, but they don't know how. Jesus asked, where are we going to get food? And think about Philip's answer. It's not, Oh, we could go over to that town over there, or we could ask this person, or we could do this. Instead, it's, it's going to cost too much money.

[00:07:56] How much is what Philip heard him [00:08:00] ask when Jesus said, where? He didn't ask about the money. Andrew stumbles because he looks at a boy with lunch. And what does he say? Well, how would we feed this many people with this little food? There's not going to be enough. Their vision, even now as disciples, was limited, like our vision is.

[00:08:23] Their seeing was looking at the wrong thing. They weren't understanding. It wasn't that they didn't understand how to feed people. It wasn't that they didn't understand how money works. It wasn't that they didn't understand how we could divide fish up into pieces, or parse out the barley loaves so that everyone gets a little bit.

[00:08:45] Instead, the disciples were caught up in the how. I think that's where we start a lot, too. I've, I've seen people debate. How could this have happened? How could this have worked? We focus on how it happened. We want to explain it. I [00:09:00] mean, maybe when Jesus started, people fessed up that they actually had brought along some food themselves, and the real miracle was the miracle of sharing.

[00:09:08] Maybe. Maybe not. But the problem is, we're looking at the wrong thing. Regardless of how it happened, this is a story about who. The first who is Jesus. Where will we buy the bread, he asked. And Philip could have given the answer, well, from you. When they are scared of him walking on the water, he says, I am, don't be afraid.

[00:09:41] I am, echoing back to, I am sending you, I am calling you, the words of God from the bush. The who is Jesus. is Jesus. That's who works the miracles. That's who meets the needs. And then the second who is, is us. [00:10:00] Or in the case of the feeding of the 5, 000, them, or in the case of the, the boat story, the disciples, the, the who is all of us, us today as well.

[00:10:12] We're hungry for something that we can't provide for ourselves, but Jesus is sitting here inviting us to a picnic here. Have the people sit down, have the people, and the word that we translate as sit down really means take a place at the table or sit down for dinner. That's Maderer. Have the people pull up a chair and come to the table.

[00:10:37] You are guests at the Lord's table. We are guests at the Lord's table. That's the gospel message. That's the miracle. They even gather up the leftovers so that nothing is wasted. That's a sure sign of the kingdom. There's really no leftovers. There's no leftover food. There's no [00:11:00] leftover people. Nothing is thrown aside.

[00:11:03] Nothing is not valued. Nothing is not taken care of. We are guests at the Lord's table, not an afterthought or a nuisance. We're part of the family. We're welcomed. We're invited. We're included. But there's something else that at least John includes as well. We have the meal miracle. We have the walking on the water miracle.

[00:11:28] But we also have the waiting crowd. Hoping to catch a glimpse of the Miracle Worker, hoping to get another slice of that bread. If you keep reading it, it actually says that Jesus seems to be getting a little irritated with them for the bread thing, since he thinks that they're missing the point. But maybe John got the point.

[00:11:54] Maybe by the way he describes the event. See, towards the end of the [00:12:00] text that I read, the people are hanging out at the place where it happened, at the miracle place, but they're not calling it the miracle place. He says it's the place where they had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks.

[00:12:17] That's the description. Not here, where an amazing thing happened. Not where something unexplainable took place. Not the place of the miracle. No, it's where they had ate after the Lord had given thanks. That seems to be something important to John, something he wants us to remember, that this meal, that miracle of a meal, happened after gratitude was expressed to God.

[00:12:45] Gratitude for the abundance that didn't look like an abundance. Gratitude for the satisfaction that came out of hunger. Gratitude becomes a way of seeing and a way of being in the world. We give thanks to God for what is about to happen. [00:13:00] We give thanks to God for what we might not see. but what we trust in God to provide.

[00:13:09] We live because of that. We live out of a discipline of gratitude. It is a spiritual discipline. It is a choice to be grateful to God first. for all of the abundance that surrounds us, but also that gratitude then spills over into the rest of our lives as well. And we become grateful for those in our circle of care.

[00:13:29] We're grateful for those who help us to live. We're, we're recognizing the benefits that we enjoy without effort that comes from all of our connections. We are a family. We are a family that's invited to a seat at the table by Christ Jesus. Thanks for listening.[00:14:00]

[00:14:00] Thanks so much for listening to the Inspired Stewardship podcast. As a subscriber and listener, we challenge you to not just sit back and passively listen, but act on what you've heard and find a way to live your calling. If you enjoyed this episode, do me a favor, go over to facebook. com slash inspired stewardship.

[00:14:25] And like our Facebook page and mark it that you'd like to get notifications from us so that we can connect with you on Facebook and make sure that we're serving you to the best of our abilities with time and tips there. Until next time, invest your time. Your talent and your treasures develop your influence and impact the world.

In today's episode, I talk with you about:

  • John 6: 1-24...  
  • Why focusing on the how often misses the point...
  • Why gratitude is a spiritual discipline...
  • and more.....

Then some boats from Tiberias came near the place where they had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks. – John 6: 23

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About the Author Scott

Helping people to be better Stewards of God's gifts. Because Stewardship is about more than money.

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