Ability and Availability

September 19, 2017

“There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?” (John 6:9)

A myth often believed today goes something like this: “God uses super-duper people to do super-duper things because they are super-duper people.” The truth is the exact opposite. Throughout Scriptures God uses many ordinary people to do extraordinary things because they are available.

As a pastor I’ve often observed people who are long on ability are often short on availability, while people who are short on ability are often long on availability. The exhortation in Scripture comes down to this: whether we are long or short on ability, the important thing is that we become long on availability.

In the sixth chapter of the Gospel of John, we find the miracle of the “Feeding of the Five Thousand.” As Jesus fed this great multitude, He passed the fragments of bread and fish through the hands of His disciples to all the hungry people.

Where did Jesus get the bread and fish? Simon Peter’s brother, Andrew, discovered a little boy who was willing to give up his lunch, something like five little biscuits and two sardines. “What are they among so many?” In the hands of Jesus, enough.

When God is in something, little is much when placed in the hands of Jesus.

I challenge you with the vision of a little boy who placed what little he had in the hands of Jesus. Many of us say we would give to the cause of Christ and serve Him if we had much to give or great abilities to serve. We must see, however, that our stewardship is not based upon what we do not have, but upon what we have.

God is looking for people who can take whatever they have and place it in the hands of Jesus.

Dick Woodward, (MBC Report, Fall 1993)


MINE, MINE, MINE vs. GOD’S

November 8, 2016

“Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful… And what do you have that you did not receive? (1Corinthians 4: 2, 7)

The biblical word “steward” is not fully understood or appreciated.  It is actually one of the most important words in the New Testament.  A synonym for this word is “manager.” Many people believe this word primarily relates to a person’s money, but that application falls far short of the essential meaning of this word.

Paul asks the probing question: “And what do you have that you did not receive?”  He is telling us that our stewardship applies to everything we have received from God. This means our time, energy, gifts and talents, our health and all the things that make up the essence of our very life, including all of our money and possessions.

At the age of 65 my best friend, a very successful businessman, had what he refers to as a “halftime” experience when he came to fully appreciate this word steward. His regular custom was to draw a line down the middle of the top page of a legal pad. On the left side of that line he wrote, “My Business,” while on the right side of the line he wrote, “God’s Business.” When he fully appreciated this word, steward, he erased that line because he realized it was all God’s business.

Remember, the important thing about stewardship is that we be found faithful.  Do you realize there is nothing in your life you did not receive from God?  Do you know that you are to faithfully manage everything you have received from God?  Are you willing to have a halftime experience and erase the line between what is yours and what is God’s?

Dick Woodward, 10 June 2010