Hi, I’m Penny Lyon, singer-songwriter with Christian band Out of the Ashes. Welcome to God Today. Today I’d like to talk to you about this little box. We give them away at gigs, and in worldly terms, they’re about the most unexciting giveaway you could hope for. It’s a little box. It’s got a logo on the outside, and it’s got a couple of Bible verses. And inside it contains a bag of ash, but there’s a story – because in spiritual terms, we think this is amazing.
Now there’s a story, as I say, and it goes to this little box. There’s a little boy who lives in Bethsaida, Galilee, which is on the edge of the Sea of Galilee. And he’s been hearing about this man, who’s going around Israel as we know it now, preaching, talking, doing miracles. This little boy had heard that this man was really stirring things up. He’d heard that the Pharisees and the Sadducees were really unhappy about it. But he’d heard one more thing, which really, really excited him. And that was that this man had time for children. Nobody at that time had time for children.
So when he hears that this man is down on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, He’s desperate to get down there. And he goes and he finds his mom. He says, “Mom, Mom, please, can I go and see him? I’ve heard.” He said, “Please can I go?” She says, “Well, first of all, you’ve got your chores to do. And secondly, I’m going to want to know that you’re back on time by sundown, please. And I want to know that you’re going to behave yourself when you’re there.” Anyway, he goes off super quick. Get all his chores done. He gets done really well. He doesn’t want to have to do anything again. And he comes back and he goes, “Mom, Mom, Mom, I’m done everything, please, please, please. Can I go? I’ll be really good.” “And I’m also going to want to know that you’re back by sundown, young man.”
He makes his promises and then she says, “I’ve made you a packed lunch.” Now this is where I should ask you what was in the packed lunch. But I know that you’re all going, “It’s obvious! Loaves and fishes.” And you’re right. She gave him some loaves and some fish in a bag to take down to the shores of the Sea of Galilee. And off he goes. And when he gets there, he cannot believe how many people are there. We read in the Bible that there were 5,000 that day, but that was just the men. Women and children wouldn’t have been counted. So there could have been anything up to 10,000 or even more there. And this little guy is in the midst of it all. And they’re all straining to hear everything that Jesus says.
And this little guy is watching this man. And he sees kindness all over His face. And he hears words that he’s never heard spoken, such wisdom. And he sees miracles that day. He sees people that couldn’t walk, who start being able to walk and they get up without their crutches and they go home without their crutches. And his life is changed. But then he realizes that the time is getting on and the sun is getting low and he doesn’t want to have to go home, but he knows he’s going to have to. So he’s just starting to pick his stuff up, cast around and get his bits together – when Jesus says, “We’ve got to feed all these people, has anybody got any food?”
Now you can imagine it can’t you, here’s a little boy. And the person who has been the focus of his day has just asked for something which he has. His hand goes straight up. “I’ve got some, I’ve got some!” Then he realizes that he’s the only one who’s put his hand up in all those thousands of people. And it’s worse because he’s only got a few bits of fish and a few loaves. And it’s even worse because he’s just a little boy and children are irrelevant. And now somebody’s laughing at him from nearby and saying, “What use is a kid going to do? Look, he’s just got a few bits of fish and bread. How useless is that?” And now he’s gone pink with embarrassment and he wishes he had hidden away and not said anything. But what he does then is amazing, because in the face of all that opposition, he takes his bread and his fish and he goes forward and gives it all to Christ. And with it one of the most amazing miracles in the Bible was done that day.
And the thing is, we all have situations when our lives, where we feel that we do not have what we need to be able to do what we see needs doing. We feel too small. We feel too old, too young, too white, too black, too rich, too poor, too stupid, too clever. The words that have been spoken over us through our lives resonate in our ears, telling us that we’re not good enough for the moment – turning our hopes into ashes.
But when we take everything that we are, everything we have, in all its inadequacy, and hand it over to God, with the kind of trust that child had that day, God will do miracles with us that we cannot comprehend. He will give us mission and ministry that will set our lives on fire. He will fill us with joy. So at this point, I’d love to pray with you, because each one of you out there has so much to offer. You just don’t believe it yet.
Lord Jesus Christ, we are here as we are. We’ve all had so many words spoken over us. We’ve all been told lies by the enemy about ourselves, about who we are and what we are. And we’ve been told that we’re not good enough. But Father God, through Your eyes, we know things can be different. And Father God right here, right now, we want to hand everything we are, everything we have, over to You to use as You please. And Father God, we ask You to do the miracles through us that will go towards changing this world and bringing Your kingdom on earth. Thank You Father. Amen.