Has God ever asked you to do something you feel is beyond your capabilities? When we sense a nudging from God to do something, we often feel inadequate. So why would God ask you to do such things? In this 5-day plan, Pete Briscoe explores the answer to this question and shares how when we’re willing to step into what God’s inviting us to, an incredible experience awaits.
You Are Perfectly Incapable
Has God ever asked you to do something you feel incapable of doing?
Many of us grow up believing there are three types of people:
- Great people who do great things;
- Average people who do average things; and
- Below-average people who do below-average things.
This belief system spurs a feeling within us all: inadequacy. Inadequacy is born out of the mindset that our limited resources limit our contribution.
But then, one day, we say yes to Jesus, and we’re introduced to this new adventure of life in Christ. And as we’re pleasantly going about our business, one day, God throws us a curveball. He asks us to do something we feel completely incapable of doing. And we’re confused. We think, Wait a minute… Why would God ask me to do something way beyond who I am? We feel paralyzed, and we may even ignore the prompting, assuming it was intended for someone else. What are we so scared of?
You see when feelings of inadequacy are intensified by a divine request, we tend to run away.
Now, you might be thinking, would God actually ask you to do something you’re incapable of doing? The answer is a categorical YES! And I’m going to prove it to you.
Not Enough Is More Than Enough
There’s only one miracle that’s recorded in all four of the gospels. I think it’s the one story God wanted to make sure we got! And it’s a story that helps us understand why Jesus asks us to do things beyond our limits.
We find one record of it in Luke 9:1-17. The disciples have just returned from going from village to village, spreading the good news. Jesus takes them with him, and they withdraw by themselves. But soon, the crowds find them and gather to hear Jesus’ teaching. The story picks up in verses 12-13:
“Late in the afternoon the Twelve came to him and said, ‘Send the crowd away so they can go to the surrounding villages and countryside and find food and lodging, because we are in a remote place here.’ [Jesus] replied, ‘You give them something to eat.’”
Now take a look at how the disciples immediately respond to this idea: “We have only five loaves of bread and two fish—unless we go and buy food for this crowd.” (v. 13)
The five loaves and two fish belong to a little boy who just so happens to be close by. We learn this detail in John’s account of this story in John 6.
The disciples’ mindset was that their limited resources—the little boy’s bread and fish—limited their contribution. They just didn’t have enough. But Jesus asked them to feed the people anyway. Why?
Because in the hands of Jesus, not enough is more than enough.
Your Limitations Are God’s Unlimited Opportunities
As we read on, we see how Jesus proves the disciples’ “not enough” is more than enough.
The story continues in Luke 9:16:
“Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, [Jesus] gave thanks and broke them. Then he gave them to the disciples to distribute to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of the broken pieces that were left over.”
Not only did Jesus meet the staggering human need of the crowd, but he completely met it to the degree that there was an abundance of leftovers. In the hands of Jesus, not enough is MORE than enough.
The disciples believed their limited resources limited their contribution. And that’s what we believe, too, when God asks us to do something beyond our means. We feel inadequate and believe God’s got the wrong person for the job.
But here’s the truth this story reveals:
Limited resources provide Jesus with an opportunity to demonstrate who He really is.
Availability Is All That Matters
We tend to believe God only works with those who are above average—who are gifted, talented, and have a track record of success. But God loves working with His below-average people. Because through our limited resources, Jesus can demonstrate how powerful He really is. I love the way Charles Spurgeon summarizes this story:
“All that matters in this miracle is that the lad’s loaves were in the Lord’s hands.”
The quantity of the loaves was irrelevant. The quality was irrelevant. The miracle happens regardless of what we bring to the table. It doesn’t matter how many talents, gifts, and abilities you bring. Jesus says all that matters is that whatever you have in your hands, you make available to the Lord’s hands. Availability is all that matters.
After the miracle, no one was talking about how great the disciples were. The passage says Jesus chose to use the disciples to distribute the food—He worked through them. It’s a beautiful picture of how the church works. He uses us, but even though He uses us to perform miracles, it’s still all about Him.
Just Be Available
But you still may have an unanswered question: Why would Jesus use you?
The answer is found back at the beginning of our text in Luke 9. In the first part of the text, we see the disciples are empowered by Jesus to go out and do things they could never do by themselves. In verses 7-9, we see Herod’s response to this:
“Now Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was going on. And he was perplexed because some were saying that John had been raised from the dead, others that Elijah had appeared, and still others that one of the prophets of long ago had come back to life. But Herod said, ‘I beheaded John. Who, then is this I hear such things about?…”
Herod wanted to know the man behind what the disciples were doing. This leads Luke to share this story that tells us who Jesus is. And do you know who Jesus is?
Jesus is the one who takes limited people and does limitless things through them.
My dad summarizes it this way:
“Human resources, however, limited, when willingly offered and divinely empowered, are more than adequate to achieve divine ends.”
Jesus will use you if you let Him. That’s it. He won’t use you because you’re qualified, gifted, or talented. If you make yourself available to Him, He’ll use you. Just be available.
Maybe right now, you’re looking at the challenging circumstances in your life, and you’re thinking, Jesus, why me? Jesus is saying, “You know what? I got you right where I want you. The reason I have you here is to demonstrate how capable I am. I’m going to use you to show the world how powerful I am.”
Give Him what you’ve got. Be available. And discover how beautiful it is to see Him show up.
Jesus, the intention of my heart is to be fully available to You—in my parenting, my marriage, my ministry, and in the ways I interact with others. I give You my bread and my fish and ask that You multiply them miraculously in my life. Use me. I’m available. All that matters in my life is that my loaves are in Your hands. So I entrust myself to You. When I’m too focused on my limitations, may I be reminded that that just gives You room to do miraculous things. I realize that my limitations are a beautiful avenue for You to show the world how powerful You are. I offer my limited self to You.
Now work, I pray. Amen.