The other week my wife and I were invited over to watch a TV show with some friends, and when she called to remind me that we were going that night, I crumpled inside. It had nothing to do with our friends, whom we love. It was just that I felt so overloaded with my life that even doing something fun like that felt like a burden; I wasn’t sure that I could even enjoy it. If ever there was a sign that something was wrong inside me, that was it.
Perhaps you can relate on some level to this experience – my bet would be that most people in the Western World could, as I hear more and more stories of overloaded people being crushed by their schedules and their finances and continuing to feel the need to add more and more to their lives. Those who have spent time with me know that for about a month I’ve been beating a drum called MARGIN, and now it’s time to put that beat onto “paper” in the blogosphere.
To start this series, I want to share a place in Scripture that God has used to encourage me to make room for more in my life. Jesus feeding the 5,000 is the only miracle (besides the resurrection) recorded in all four Gospels, and John’s account of this event comes in chapter 6. I recently spent a day looking at this passage with some other InterVarsity staff in a guided retreat, and as we came together and shared at the end of the day, a fellow overloaded staff had some great insight into the passage.
She first noticed that Jesus asks, “Where can we find bread to feed all these people?” and Phillip replies with a “how” answer – “Six months wages couldn’t buy enough.” Andrew answers the “where” question correctly (“Here is a boy with 5 loaves and a few fish), but doubts that what is “here” is enough (“but how far will they go among so many?”). If I were a disciple, I may have answered like Andrew (on a good day) and then I would have made every effort to add to what was “here.” Maybe try and bake some bread, or run to town and get some bread to add, whatever I could do. But ultimately, it would never have been enough to feed 5,000.
Attempting to do more or create more than what we have “here” erases margin. Cramming more in an attempt to help Jesus accomplish His work erases margin. Well-intentioned efforts to fix the brokenness of the world can erase margin.
Simply giving Jesus what we have, recognizing and accepting the limitations, and trusting Him to make it “enough” is the beginning of having space and rest in our lives.