When we see 2 + 2 = 4, we know that is right. If we would see 2 + 2 = 5 or 3, we would say something is wrong. Most things aren’t that clear. Most of the time it isn’t quite so easy knowing what is right, which can make life more than a little complicated. If you are like me, this is especially true.
I like to “get it right”. I didn’t say “be right.” Although, I’m sure there are more than a few people in my life who would say that of me as well. Fortunately, that isn’t the point I want to make today. If I do something, I want to do it right. If I learn about something, I want to do it right. For me, that usually means learning more than necessary about the subject (whatever the subject may be). If I’m at a meeting or leading a meeting, I’ll spend time preparing. Then after the meeting, I’ll keep replaying it in my head for a while to determine what I said “right” and to consider what was “wrong” or could be improved upon.
My kids have all played or are playing soccer. When the leagues ask for coaches, I usually say yes. For me, being a coach means getting advice from better coaches. It means surfing the web to see what I can learn. Now I know I don’t get coaching right all of the time, but I am always trying to be a better coach, trying to “get it right.”
I want to “get it right.”
The other night reading John 6, the story of Jesus feeding the thousands, I caught a little rest from this feeling. I hope to share it with you so that you too may find some rest.
Here in the story you have Jesus surrounded by thousands of hungry people. It gets a little tense being surrounded by my hungry kids at times, so I can’t imagine being Jesus or the disciples in this situation.
5 Jesus looked up and saw the large crowd coming toward him. He asked Philip, “Where will we buy food to feed these people?” 6 Jesus said this to test him, for he already knew what he was going to do.
Don’t get hung up on the “test” part. Focus on the part where Jesus “already knew what he was going to do.” Philip didn’t know, and yet, he wants to “get it right.” He is asking the right question, “Where will we buy food to feed these people?” He is already doing the math, which was a little more complicated than 2 + 2.
7 Philip replied, “More than a half year’s salary worth of food wouldn’t be enough for each person to have even a little bit.”8 One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said, 9 “A youth here has five barley loaves and two fish. But what good is that for a crowd like this?”
The disciples are trying to “get it right.” They are trying, and yet, it isn’t up to them. Jesus has this.
10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass there. They sat down, about five thousand of them. 11 Then Jesus took the bread. When he had given thanks, he distributed it to those who were sitting there. He did the same with the fish, each getting as much as they wanted. 12 When they had plenty to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather up the leftover pieces, so that nothing will be wasted.” 13 So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves that had been left over by those who had eaten.
Do you see where I found my rest the other night reading this? Sure, it’s good to try. It’s even good to try to “get it right.” At the end of the day though, we can rest knowing Jesus is already at work. It’s not all on our shoulders to “get it right.” We don’t have to say all of the perfect words. We don’t need to do all of the right actions at the exact right time.
Jesus can still get what he wants, which is always right.
(All scripture cited above from Common English Bible Copyright © 2011)