Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Lessons from Hope Spoken: I don't have enough

Before Hope Spoken last weekend, I had never read the blog Flower Patch Farmgirl. Shannan Martin writes over there. I had always heard of her 'around town'; I knew her blog was popular and I guessed she was a lovely person, as are so many bloggers in the community. But since I'd probably be unable to cover all the good blogs in my lifetime, Shannan's was one I simply never got around to reading. So when I personally met her last Friday morning at Casey's house for the speaker luncheon, I was intrigued by her and wanted to know more.

When I hear "flower patch" and "farm girl," I imagine a girl who lives on a farm and skips down dirt roads with daisies in her hair, carrying a basket of berries. But despite her love for gingham, Shannan was so different from the Dorothy in Kansas character I expected. First of all, she lives in the city. She is quite tall and poised, with a lower-pitched voice like mine and a calm sincerity when she asks you questions. She's intelligent, and the type of woman you know is not just a bright person, but who is layered with fortitude of character. She's worked in politics and has a passion for loving the unloved in society. But she is also so humble that she'll plainly tell you her life has been a work wrought by God through years of struggle.

I attended her break-out session and she spoke of daring love, costly love, and allowing God to make you small. Trading your own sense of importance for His. Downsizing not only in material goods, but in position as well.

And in one of the most profound moments of the weekend for me, she redefined the story of Jesus feeding the 4,000. She brought up something that I've never considered, though I am so familiar with the story it threatens to feel stale. Jesus had a problem: 4,000 men (if you accounted for women and children, the number might be as high as 10,000) had been listening to Him preach for three days. They were very hungry and more than likely, He surmises, couldn't make the long walk home without fainting. You know the rest. Jesus takes a few loaves from the disciples and miraculously multiplies the small amount of food they have in order to generously feed the entire crowd with baskets to spare.

But God spoke to me when Shannan pointed this out: Jesus could have turned all the stones into bread to feed the people. He could have rained bread down from heaven. He could have done whatever sort of miracle He wanted to feed the people. But instead, He chose to ask the disciples, "How much do you have?"

I realize in the past I've assumed it was as if Jesus was at a loss in this scene. Like, He had to ask these guys for help.  I forget that He is Lord Almighty. I start to think Jesus is just like me, trying to problem-solve by phoning a friend. But no. He knows what He is doing; He is not caught off guard by the deficits. And He is making a choice to involve us in His miracles. He knows the disciples don't have enough, but He wants their offering anyway. He will make it enough, but they have to offer first.

Friends, this is a profound lesson. Jesus and I often sit staring together at a problem. Let's say it's a problem in a friendship or with my husband or in our finances. Jesus could rain down bread. Of course He could. And sometimes, He does.

But much more often, He turns to me and says, "How much do you have?" I say, "Well, that's obvious, Jesus. I don't have enough for this. Not even close." He knows I don't have enough. He knows I may look at him with raised eyebrows. He knows that my heart sustains seeds of doubt. The question is whether or not I will take my chunk of bread, my measly offering worth next to nothing, and hand it to Him anyway.

The question is whether or not I have faith that He will make it enough.

I believed Him this past weekend. I spoke, and offered Jesus my measly chunk of bread by sharing my story in a break-out session. I'm certain He multiplied its value and spread it around and made it enough. But I question myself in parenting and in relationships and in so many other areas. I often question whether I have something to offer Jesus at all.

Friends, it's such good news. He knows you don't have much to offer. And that's the point. If you could feed 10,000 people yourself, you wouldn't need a Savior and He wouldn't get the glory. So He's given you a measly chunk of something that seems to be worth next to nothing. Yes, you need more. It's laughable how much more you need to solve the problems around you. But you do have something to offer. And He's asking you for it.


{to read the Bible story yourself, it is recorded twice, both in Mark 8:1-9 and Matthew 15:32-39.}



  1. love this. wish i would have gone to that session.

  2. This is beautiful. I missed her session. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  3. I love this. So true....I have never read the story in this light before. Fab.

  4. Leslie,so glad we met, thank you for leading our group. My mind is still swirling with everything from the weekend.
    Beautiful words.... Thank you

  5. Wow - that is such great truth. Thank you for sharing!

  6. I really really like this.

  7. Thanks Leslie this really spoke to me as i embark on my 2 month road trip sharing Nourishments. I shall give Him my chunk and He will provide the rest! Love it!

  8. oh girl, OH GIRL - seriously this was incredible truth to soak into my soul this morning. Sadly I missed Shannan's session but I am so grateful for the insights you gleaned from it! Yesterday I made my meager list for the day of things to accomplish and then I asked God to take or add to it...because over the weekend he put it on my heart that he can't bless or change my plans unless I make some. This goes along with that so well...the holy spirit was all over that place, including during your session (it was incredible!) and I am so grateful how he is using you to breath fresh life into the dry, weary places. You're a gift Leslie!!

  9. I love this. He wants us to be available, give what we have-and that opens the door for him to do miracles. Whether it's bread, time, money, or our story-he will use it all, IF we hand it over first.

    Wish I could have been there to hear you share, it sounds like an amazing time!

  10. Love this:
    "Yes, you need more. It's laughable how much more you need to solve the problems around you. But you do have something to offer. And He's asking you for it."
    I miss you, Leslie Padgett!

  11. "He knows the disciples don't have enough, but He wants their offering anyway"---i'm with you. i can't figure out why i always saw this story in the same light that you did. but how clarifying! this story is really beautiful. i pray it sticks in my heart.