When You Don’t Have What it Takes {A Devotional on the Feeding of the 5,000}

I’ve been afraid of not having what it takes as long as I can remember.

As a child I was desperately afraid of failure, of trying out for something and not making it, of being told “you’re not good enough.”

In a world where girls tell everyone who their crush is, hoping it will get back to him, I never told anyone who I liked. Because the idea of anyone knowing I liked someone who didn’t like me back felt like the end of the world to me.

In college I finally got brave enough to apply for things I wanted to do, but I never told anyone (so if I didn’t get it, no one would know I wanted it.)

In my twenties I missed (or nearly missed) job opportunities because I waited to be asked. I assumed that my desire to be included was understood by everyone, desperately afraid to communicate what I wanted for fear of not being chosen, being told I wasn’t good enough.

Even to this day I wonder if there are dreams, opportunities, hopes I won’t even admit to myself because of this fear of being told no, or WORSE, trying and failing, finding out once and for all that I don’t have what it takes.

It’s so much easier to stick with sure things, never admit what I want or need, never take on more than I can handle.

Do you relate?

I am helping lead a Bible study this Fall for a precious community of women who are studying the table scenes in the book of Luke, looking at the way Jesus treated and interacted with people. Our study is called “The Radical Hospitality of Jesus”, and I’m learning more every week how much more radical Jesus was than I ever realized.


Learning about the radical hospitality of Jesus is stretching my boundaries, stretching my understanding of God, pushing against my ideas about who is in and who is out. The radical hospitality of Jesus is making me uncomfortable.

Sometimes as Christians we can fool ourselves into thinking following Jesus is all rainbows and unicorns, that it will happen naturally, when we do what is most comfortable to us.

But when we look at the life of Christ in Scripture, we see a path we may not even want to follow, and that I certainly don’t feel equipped to follow.

 RADICAL Hospitality.

I see Jesus welcoming outsiders and social outcasts and I am overwhelmed. I can’t even manage to make time for my neighbors.

Jesus crossed political and economic and social boundaries and I can’t even handle following my crazy relatives on Facebook.

I do not actually have what it takes to practice the radical hospitality of Jesus.

Which is not a surprise to God AT ALL. He knows that sometimes the Radical Hospitality of Jesus will require more than we have to give.

Our passage this week is like a breath of fresh air.

Jesus took them away, off by themselves, near the town called Bethsaida. But the crowds got wind of it and followed. Jesus graciously welcomed them and talked to them about the kingdom of God. Those who needed healing, he healed.

As the day declined, the Twelve said, “Dismiss the crowd so they can go to the farms or villages around here and get a room for the night and a bite to eat. We’re out in the middle of nowhere.”

“You feed them,” Jesus said.

They said, “We couldn’t scrape up more than five loaves of bread and a couple of fish—unless, of course, you want us to go to town ourselves and buy food for everybody.” (There were more than five thousand people in the crowd.)

But he went ahead and directed his disciples, “Sit them down in groups of about fifty.” They did what he said, and soon had everyone seated. He took the five loaves and two fish, lifted his face to heaven in prayer, blessed, broke, and gave the bread and fish to the disciples to hand out to the crowd. After the people had all eaten their fill, twelve baskets of leftovers were gathered up. (Luke 9:11-17)

Of the 8 table scenes we’re discussing in our study, this is the only one where Jesus is actually the host. He’s welcoming the crowd, and ultimately He provides for them. But He invited the disciples to participate with Him in welcoming and providing.

Jesus is inviting them into the life of dependence that offers God our human not-enough, offers what we have to God with thanks and prayer, and sees Him bless, break and give.

I believe this miracle, this sign can be a way of life for us as well. A life of dependence on the Father that offers our not-enough and sees Him make it more than enough.

I don’t think God is calling us to live limitless, boundary-less lives. We have to say no, and we have to recognize our humanity. He is God, we are NOT. If I am the answer, then He’s not, and that is a problem.

On the other hand, I tend to look at what God is calling me to through the lens of my own resources.

Forget about big miraculous callings, just simple life and motherhood and being a wife and friend and person in this hurting world is more than my resources can take.

I don’t have the wisdom, I don’t have the energy, I don’t have the patience, I don’t have what it takes to be who God has called me to be in the world. I don’t have what it takes to practice the radical hospitality of Jesus.


Which is not a surprise to God AT ALL. He knows that sometimes the Radical Hospitality of Jesus will require more than we have to give.


What if I do what the disciples do in this story: What if I offer God my not enough?

My not enough wisdom, my not enough strength, my not enough time, my not enough love?

What if I give Him my fear – fear of what others will think, fear of rejection, fear of failure? What if I give Him my fear of not having what it takes?

What if I offer Jesus just what I have, my own self. What if I offer what I have in prayer, lifting my eyes to Him, and let Him bless and break and give me out.

What if He can take my not enough and make it more than enough?


When You Don't Have What It Takes Insta Quote

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