song: when we were young by adele
read time: 4 minutes
focus on what you have. it happens mostly at night, when i’m driving home. there’s stretch of road that is empty — and without fail, my mind wanders. it always goes off track and thinks about what i do have, what i don’t have, and what i want.
sometimes, this line of thinking is healthy for me. it motivates me to work harder.
but, sometimes, actually — more often than not, it’s a terrible downward spiral. it leads to self-doubt and questioning why i even bother doing anything. worse than that, it makes me unthankful for everything that i have been given, everything that i have built, and everything that i have worked for.
this is common. especially for where we are at as a society. technology has made it easy to see what everyone else has [relationships, business, followers, money, babies, clothes, the list goes on…]. we start seeing what people have versus what we don’t have and wish we had something more, something different.
but if we are being honest — what we have is enough.
there is a story in the bible — Jesus was doing his thing and telling stories to a crowd of five thousand. around lunch time, the crowd became hungry. jesus asked one of his disciples, philip, “where can we buy bread to feed all these people?”
philip replied, “even if we worked for months, we wouldn’t have enough money to feed them!”
moments later, a young boy came and offered his lunch to Jesus and the disciples: five barley loaves and two fish.
“but what good is that with this huge crowd?”, asked the disciples.
[gosh — that line sounds familiar, doesn’t it?]
the disciples opinions didn’t detour Jesus from seeing the greatness in the boy’s small lunch.
“tell everyone to sit down,” Jesus said. so they all sat down on the grassy slopes. [the men alone numbered about 5,000.] then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks to God, and distributed them to the people. afterward he did the same with the fish. and they all ate as much as they wanted. after everyone was full, Jesus told his disciples, “now gather the leftovers, so that nothing is wasted.” so they picked up the pieces and filled twelve baskets with scraps left by the people who had eaten from the five barley loaves.” [john 6.1-15]
this story is everything.
the young boy didn’t have much. what he had was not nearly enough to feed a small group of people, let alone a crowd of 5,000. but he didn’t focus on what he didn’t have — instead, he focused on what he did have. he had something and that was better than nothing.
i am sure that in the crowd of 5,000 there were a couple people who had more in their lunch sack than this little boy – but they aren’t the ones the story talks about. they focused on what they didn’t have. they saw what the had and deemed it as “not enough”. it’s the little boy, who saw what he had in his hands as enough that made history.
what he had may not have been great on it’s own, but when paired with God — it was more than enough. i mean, c’mon — there were leftovers for days. pretty impressive.
so here it is—
what you have in your hands may not seem impressive, but it doesn’t need to be. because in truth, you aren’t accomplishing anything on your own. whatever you are doing, whatever goal you are aiming for, whatever dream you are chasing — you are doing it in collaboration with God. where you lack, God will fill in the gaps. all you need to do is bring what is in your hands. it may not seem like much now, but when paired with God— it’s more than enough. when paired with God, what you have is impressive.
focus on what you have, dear friend.
if focusing on what you don’t have never helped anyone — then maybe it’s a habit we should all ditch.
psalm 100.4 says, “know that the LORD Himself is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture. enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. give thanks to Him, bless His name. For the LORD is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting And His faithfulness to all generations.”
be thankful for what you have because it has been given to you. when you focus on being thankful for what you have — you position yourself to see what you have in your hands as enough. when you are correctly positioned, you are able to make room for God to collaborate with you and take what is in your hands and make it greater than your wildest imagination.
comparison distracts us from what is important. it distracts us from focusing on what we have in our hands.
i challenge myself and you —
let’s stop focusing on what everyone else has and what we don’t have. focus on what you have in your hands — it is enough. find ways to use what you have, wake up each day thankful for what you have, and watch God take what you have and multiply it. your thankfulness will lead to an overflow of blessing that you cannot contain.