THE MODERN MANNA CHALLENGE


There are many instances in Scripture and modern life where we see God daring people to trust for things that have no way to succeed without divine involvement.

Israel was led by Moses away from Egypt and into the wilderness, where they began to face the fear of starvation. Where are we going to find food today? God heard their fear and complaints to Moses and did something to show that He was with them and invite their trust. He supplied a mysterious food that appeared like frost on the ground each morning. They had no idea what it was, but it nourished them every day for forty years.

In Jesus’ time and in ours, God still wants to challenge us to look to Him for daily bread beyond our own ability to get it.

For instance, how could thousands of people be fed with a small amount of food? With our great capacity for planning and measurement, we can confidently conclude that one sandwich would not feed everyone gathered in our church service. But what if God wants to do something impossible that opens our vision to another reality greater than ours? At this point, I fully expect that some will check out of participation in this thought. Why even talk about things that we know cannot happen?


John 6:
When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.
Philip answered him; “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”
Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”


If God were to propose a similar challenge to you, how would you respond? There are still situations that have no possible human answer. God asks us at times to trust when it looks like fantasy and foolishness to do so.

What we fail to realize is that God knows what He is going to do and sometimes invites us like children to respond with trust.

In the response of Jesus’ two disciples we see ourselves.

Philip hears the modern manna challenge and is incredulous. He does a calculation of the crowd size and figures out that it would take more than six months wage to pay for one meal. And where would they find that volume of food on short notice? Philip responds to Jesus’ challenge with a reasonable response. Here’s why it cannot be done!

Andrew hears the modern manna challenge and gives it a starting point. This boy has a lunch, but how far will that go? Andrew also sees that it is an impossible challenge, but looks for the first step—a little boy’s lunch.

I think Edmund Hillary was more like Andrew than Philip. He was willing to look at a starting point. He was willing to be captured by a challenging idea, even though the majority would quickly give reasons for it being a foolish idea.

Andrew has just a hint of faith, perhaps as small as a mustard seed. The question is what to do with a hint of faith. If God gives you an impossible challenge, are you willing to obey when it does not make sense otherwise?

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