Read Matthew 14
Every summer for many years I was responsible for finding the leaders to serve at Dothan’s Community Bible Study. It was a daunting task because you were asking people to make a big commitment for the year.
Some years I handled it with faith, other years not so much. One year I remember being especially stressed out. I was on the phone with a fine Christian lady who I had asked to lead a group. She told me that she couldn’t because she needed to care for her aging mother. My response…
“Somebody with commitments like yours is gonna have to choose to serve!!!”
Wow. Bad moment. I was so embarrassed. I called the next day to tell her how horribly sorry I was that I screamed at her because she wanted to care for her aging mother.
Ever made a call like that? My guess is that even if you have not made an “I’m sorry call,” you have exploded and been embarrassed. Ever screamed at a kid over grades? Ever acted like a desperate woman while dating someone? Ever felt totally defeated at home or work?
It’s a focus issue. When you read Matthew 15 you see different focus issues.
Herod is focused on immediate pleasure and makes a rash promise. He ends up killing John the Baptist. I would not want that hanging over me for all eternity.
Then we see how Jesus responds to finding out devastating news. He gets alone. He probably spends that time realigning His focus. Maybe He cries really hard over His cousin, John the Baptist’s death. Then I would imagine He gives His heavenly Father time to remind Him of what He already knew. John didn’t want to come back. He had completed the work God gave him to do and now he was celebrating in the presence of God and angels.
Jesus is ready to jump back in. He goes ashore and has compassion on a large crowd. How awesome is Jesus? He has just received terrible news but is still thinking of others. He heals their sick.
Then the disciples tell Jesus to send all the people away, because they need something to eat. Jesus tells them to give them something to eat.
They must just look at each other and then at the five pieces of bread and two fish. This said, “This is all we have!”
Jesus tells them to bring the provision to Him. He turns His focus to God and multiplies the food. There are 12 basketfuls of food left over!
Part of me wants to shake up the disciples. Come on guys. Jesus is with you. Son of God. Savior of the World. All powerful. Just focus on Him. But then I would be a hypocrite for the millions of times that I have stewed over my circumstances and not focused on God.
We see Jesus retreat again to pray. He takes the time to refocus. He just performed a big miracle in a trying and emotional time. Jesus knew He needed time to focus on God who is able.
Next we see the disciples in a boat at night. Jesus comes walking on the water. I guess you never get used to the miracles, because they were scared. Jesus tells them not to be afraid. Peter asks Jesus to call him out on the water.
At first, it goes well. Peter walks on water. But then his focus changes from Jesus to the wind. He is afraid and begins to sink.
“O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” Jesus asks. Our lives are all probably full of moments like these.
How can we live differently?
When we have defeating thoughts or are feeling overwhelmed, we need to ask ourselves what we are focusing on in that moment. I have heard it said that we need to frisk our thoughts at the door of our minds. Do not dwell on the thoughts that center on your circumstances and how you are going to sink. Instead, refocus your mind like Jesus did. Get alone. Focus on God who is able.
2 Corinthians 9:8:
God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.
I encourage you to write this verse in your notebook. Maybe even memorize it.
God is able to handle what concerns you today. Focus on the God who is able. You and I might be surprised by how much it levels out our reactions to the circumstances around us. We can respond with faith instead of fear.
In what particular situation do you need to believe God is able? Write it in your notebook with 2 Corinthians 9:8.
Share it with us in the comments. I love hearing from you.