Luke9:16 Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke them. Then he gave them to the disciples to distribute to the people. 17 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.Have you ever been reading a passage of scripture that you've read a hundred times before and had a phrase jump out at you like you'd never seen it before? That happened to me a couple of months ago as I read this passage. Here is the phrase that stopped me in my tracks:
"He gave thanks..."
Here are a couple of observations that I would like you to consider today:
- Thankfulness is the gateway to blessing. I don't presume to know how Jesus fed the 5,000 that day. God can do anything He wants, any way He wants, at any time He wants. According to Scripture, Jesus (the Word) was with God and was God in the beginning. He was there when the worlds were formed. He was there when a garden sprang up in Eden. It was he who sowed the seeds that became the fruits, vegetables, and grains that sustained life until the Fall of Man. It was he who filled the sea with all kinds of fish. All that is to say that Jesus could have created loaves of bread and fish out of nothing. After all, He had done it before. I don't think the phrase, "He gave thanks," is carelessly in the passage. I believe that God wants us to see that the gateway for His blessing is a heart of gratitude. The secret to opening yourself to the abundance of God is being content and thankful for what you have.
I'm not talking about praying a blessing over each meal. Admittedly, I'm not always good about this. What I'm talking about here is cultivating an overall attitude of thankfulness for the abundant blessings already poured out on you.
- Thankfulness is the gateway to evangelism. I love the phrase in the above passage, "They all ate and were satisfied." This may seem like a stretch, but I believe that when we, as believers in Christ show a deep appreciation for the love and grace we've been shown, the spiritually hungry will eat of the goodness of God and be satisfied in Him. When we are not grateful for the gospel that transforms us, we are likely to argue and fight with one another over petty issues. This is like preparing a plate of bitter weeds for a hungry person who really needs the delicious and nutritious food of the gospel.
Question: How can your life and the lives of others around you be transformed by cultivating an attitude of thankfulness?
May our attitude be like that of the Psalmist who cried out in Psalm 9, "I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all of your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High."