Jesus in the Middle

When, exactly, does Jesus work with us? What does the partnership look like. I think that at least sometimes, the part that Jesus plays is somewhere in the middle.

I've been reading the story about how Jesus and his disciples feed a very large group of people, late in the day and in the middle of nowhere (Matthew 14:13-21). The story starts with Jesus' closest followers recognizing that there is a problem – over 5,000 people needing to eat and little or no food at hand – and offering a solution – send them away so they can go find some.

Jesus' response (I wonder if he had a slight smile on his face) was to suggest that they could do a little more than just send them home, that they themselves could feed these people.

I often feel that way at work. I have a paper to grade or a lesson to plan and know what the minimum is. I know when I have worked enough to get a "passing grade," maybe even a good grade. But I also know that, sometimes, I could do a little more, that with another 5 minutes or another half hour, that I could give much better feedback or plan a much better exercise.

Of course, these things often happen late in the day, "in the middle of nowhere."

And like the disciples in the story, when I sense Jesus asking me to give a little more, I respond, accurately, that there is just not that much gas in the tank, not much energy in my body, not many good ideas left in my head. What does Jesus say? "Bring me what you got." There, in the middle, he takes what we bring him, says a prayer and adds his own touch.

And then, he gives it all back to us and the story ends, as it began, with us and some needy people, but this time, we are offering just a little more.

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