A Strange Word
They all ate and were satisfied… Luke 9:17
When I heard these words at the end of last Sunday’s Gospel they hit me like a sack of bricks. I’ve been thinking about them for a few days now and I’m still wondering if I even know what that means…to be satisfied?
We aren’t very good with “exactly the right amount”. Our culture promotes more, better, extra and on reserve. We stock up, plan ahead and over prep everything from toilet paper to salad greens. When you think about it, we are people of excess more than satisfaction. In this Gospel thousands of people walked and walked and walked just to listen to Jesus teach. They had no worries about food or lodging. They didn’t have reservations and back up plans. They didn’t pack a cooler or a rubbermaid tote full of snacks. They just abandoned everything because nothing was more important than the word of the Son of God.
What do you suppose those early disciples would think of TV shows like “Hoarders” or “Extreme Couponing”? I know those are extreme examples but you have to wonder who really needs dozens of tubes of tooth paste even if you do get them for practically nothing. I’ve been making a list of all the places in my life where I’ve lost track of the meaning of the word satisfied and it is embarrassingly long. I’m not suggesting we all become radical minimalists but the Gospel has really made me stop and think.
The thought I keep coming back to is the difference in my trust and the trust of the characters in this Gospel story. They completely trusted in the providence of God. They knew He would be faithful and they would be grateful. It also struck me that there were twelve baskets of food left over which means people weren’t grabbing up the extra to save “just in case”. They trusted God for this meal, they were satisfied and content and they trusted him the same way about tomorrow. They had a focus that was on Jesus and not self and that focus brought them trust. I think it’s probably pretty safe to say the disciples and followers of Jesus were a stress free group of faithful folks who were not very likely to have a stress related cardiac event.
Ya know it’s funny, I’ve heard this Gospel dozens and dozens of times but that line just jumped right up at me. That always means God’s trying to teach me something. If I spent as much time praying and reading His Word as I do plotting and planning my shopping, meal prep and event schedule I’m positive my soul would be a lot shinier. Imagine the stories we could tell if we sought to be satisfied instead of fortified with extra. Imagine the stories of God’s providence we could tell if we actually let him meet our needs instead of trying to plan, control and manage everything ourselves. Imagine how content our hearts would be if we stepped back a bit and let him show us how much he loves us.
I chatted with a lady recently at a retreat I was presenting and she shared that the greatest way to learn to trust more and rely less on self is to spend five solid minutes in prayer thinking about anything but yourself. Any time thoughts of self or tasks or worries about your life creep in, you have to start all over. Seems simple…5 minutes thinking about anything but yourself. I guess the words SATISFIED, CONTENT and ENOUGH need to be a part of my prayer for a while, how about you.
A Seed To Plant: Where are the places you find yourself going beyond satisfied? How about those 5 minutes thinking about anything but self…give that a try too.
Blessings on your day!
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