I am enough. It's a popular phrase with a valuable message. We live in a world where people struggle to keep up with endless demands, feel pulled in many directions and collapse into bed at night still worried they let others down. This should not be. Yet, there is something about the statement that leaves my spirit troubled.
The truth is that I'm actually notenough, nor was I ever expected to be. In fact, it's only when I understand that I am dreadfully incapable of ever being enough, that I am able to be enough through the One who has always been enough. Stay with me. I promise to start making sense.
Most of us have heard the Bible story where Jesus takes five loaves of bread and two fish and provides dinner for 5,000 men and their families with 12 baskets full left over. Did you know the book of Mark records two different occasions where Jesus fed thousands of people from one modest lunch? On the first occasion (Mark 6:35), the disciples came to Jesus and basically told Him, "You need to send these people home so they can buy food in the surrounding villages before it gets too late." Jesus responds by telling them, "You give them something to eat."
The disciples were almost indignant in saying, "Where would we get enough money to buy bread for all these people?" Jesus answers with a question, "How many loaves do you have?" He sent them to find out. They came back to Him with five dinner rolls and two fish. Definitely not enough.
I love that they had to go take inventory and bring what they had to Jesus. He took their meager offering, thanked God for it and blessed it. Jesus began breaking the loaves and kept giving them bread to distribute until all were fed and satisfied.
As I studied this, I realized that when we bring what we have to Jesus, He blesses our resources as we put them to use. He turns what we have into more than enough as we trust Him and do what He tells us to do.
Jesus did a very similar miracle on another occasion. (Thank you, Lord, I am not the only one who needs to be taught things more than once!) Mark 8:1 begins, "In those days, when there was again a large crowd and they had nothing to eat, Jesus called His disciples." This time, Jesus initiated the conversation. He basically told them, "Listen, I feel for these people. They've been with me three days here and if I send them away hungry they might faint on the way home.
I feel like Jesus was setting them up to express their faith and confidence in Him. Unfortunately, His disciples had the same problem I do. They needed to be reminded of who God is and what He is capable of. Jesus had worked a huge miracle in a difficult moment just like this not long before! Yet they still couldn't see more than an impossible situation. The disciples again asked Jesus, "Where will we get enough food for all these people?" So, again Jesus asked them, "What do you have?"
This time they brought seven loaves. He gave thanks for what they had, began breaking the bread and giving it to the disciples to hand out. Everyone ate and was satisfied. There were seven large baskets full left over.
I can't help but wonder how long it took them to pick up all the extra bread. Do you think Jesus wanted to drive the point home further by giving them more work–the cleanup from His massive provision?
My own resources are limited. Most of the time, I'm not enough. But God is always morethan enough. He is not confined to our human economy, the laws of nature, or how things work on earth.
I noticed that each time the disciples brought what they had to Jesus, He thanked God for it. I believe He was also thanking God for the bread that was to come–the provision they could not yet see but believed in faith. Then He began to break the bread and hand it back to them. The Bible doesn't say there were suddenly hundreds of baskets of bread. The disciples worked hard to distribute all the food. I imagine they went back and forth between Jesus and the people countless times, but the bread just never ran out.
That's how God usually works. He continues to provide what we need one handful at a time, one basket full at a time, one day at a time. But first, we must bring what we have to Him. God takes what I bring and makes it enough as I do what He asks and walk in obedience. I am enough because He is more than enough.
By Lindell Berg
Originally published in Be Still Magazine, Issue 7.