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Limits, Loaves, and Leadership

Posted on August 25th, 2014

How we respond to the limits Jesus intentionally places before us is a core issue for every leader. The feeding of the 5000 (actually the 10,000-20,000 when we include women and children) offers us an opportunity for transformation – if we patiently allow this revelation of Jesus to penetrate us. It is the only miracle, except for the resurrection, found in all four gospels.

This summer God has invited me to patiently listen to Him through the John 6:1-15 account. The following are four of the insights I continue to ponder:

  1. Jesus intentionally places limits before us to mature our faith. One third of the account concerns itself with Jesus testing and growing their faith. He placed them in an impossible situation. What is an impossible leadership challenge before you today?
  2. Jesus is more than enough. Andrew said: “Here is a boy with 5 small barley loaves and 2 small fish, but how far will these go among so many?” Imagine if he had said: “Here is a boy with 5 small barley loaves and 2 small fish. I know You can handle it.”
  3. Even less than mustard seed faith unleashes the creative power of God. Even Philip’s faith, which started out okay, fell into unbelief by the end: “…but how far will these go among so many?” Jesus takes even the little, less than, mustard seed faith that we have and creates something totally beyond us.
  4. Trusting in Jesus – especially in impossible situations –is the core challenge of leadership. Jesus summed up the work of leadership in one simple sentence: “The work of God is this: to trust in the One He has sent” (John 5:29).   Jesus does not strive, grumble or grow frustrated. He offers the loaves back to the Father with thanks, and somehow, an amazing, invisible miracle takes place.

What impossible barrier or limit is before you? What might it look like for you to come and rest in Jesus, saying, “Lord, here are my five loaves and two small fish. I know You can handle this.”

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