23 October 2018

Hi there, Dave here. Today on Foundations reflections we’re looking at Matthew 15: 29-39. Yesterday we heard how Jesus paused His plan to minister to the person in front of Him. Today we see Jesus return to the familiar location of the Sea of Galilee. This is familiar territory for both Him and His disciples.

REFLECTION:

Allow me to start with a question. How often do we need reminding of what God has done for us?

Something we love to do at STC is give thanks. We start each week doing it at morning prayers, we include it in the daily prayer emails and we regularly share things we’re thankful for in Sunday gatherings. It’s a great rhythm, a great discipline even and I love it. When I start to say thank you to God I start off with all the classics. Thank you for my wife – I always say that first, in case she’s listening – thank you for our family, our jobs, the house we live in, our friends.

But then, I don’t know about you, but sometimes for me it can end there. Or the list carries on with general things that could be true any day of the week. And it’s good to say thank you for these things, absolutely. However we’re missing out on something if we stay at this level. Something much more powerful is if we can start to name really specific things that have impacted us and caused us to give thanks. Places and times that we’ve seen God provide for us or those around us. Places we’ve seen breakthrough. People that we’ve seen a change in. The easiest way to identify these places is to think, well what did I pray for last week? What prayers has God answered? It might be a meeting going well. It might be getting an opportunity to speak to a particular person.

Why is it important to do this? Well simply, because it is so easy for us to forget or lose sight of what God has done for us. Take this passage as an example. Jesus sees that the people need food. He’s tended to their other needs but Jesus knows they need to eat. Jesus calls His disciples to Him and declares His intentions to feed the crowd.

Does this sound familiar? This happened just one chapter ago! In real time, this is certainly no longer than a month or two later. And yet still the response He gets is a reply of ‘where could we find that food ourselves’? Jesus goes on to repeat the miracle but I wonder, how easy was it for the disciples to forget, in the moment, that Jesus had provided before? How easy is it for us to do the same now? Being specific in our thanksgivings reminds us of what God has done, and gives us confidence that He can and will do it again in the future.

Our God is a generous God. This story is just one example of that. He is faithful and He provides for His people in their time of need. I would encourage us all to take heart from that today. Let us be people who seek to recognise God’s generosity in our lives, but also people who remind ourselves of it. Sharing these stories is a great move as well. Not only can it encourage others now, but when we are finding life hard, it means others are able to encourage us by reminding us of the stories we may have forgotten.

PRAYER:

Thank you God that you are generous in your faithfulness and provision. Please help us to be encouraged today by remembering the times that we have seen your provision and breakthrough in our lives. Amen.

READING: Matthew 15:29-39

Jesus left there and went along the Sea of Galilee. Then he went up on a mountainside and sat down. Great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them. The people were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled made well, the lame walking and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel.

Jesus called his disciples to him and said, ‘I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.’

His disciples answered, ‘Where could we get enough bread in this remote place to feed such a crowd?’

‘How many loaves do you have?’ Jesus asked.

‘Seven,’ they replied, ‘and a few small fish.’

He told the crowd to sit down on the ground. Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, and when he had given thanks, he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and they in turn to the people. They all ate and were satisfied. Afterwards the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those who ate was four thousand men, besides women and children. After Jesus had sent the crowd away, he got into the boat and went to the vicinity of Magadan.