Bring them…

by DanWolgemuth on May 20, 2016

One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?” (John 6:8-9)

Visionary Leadership. This has been an aspiration of mine as I have led the mission of Youth For Christ USA for the last 11 years. I want to be a forward thinking, trend setting, courage displaying, Braveheart kind of leader.  A visionary leader.

Yet as I read the candid account of Jesus’ life and leadership on earth, I wonder if this is what He was looking for, or even living out Himself. The Bible records the words of Jesus Himself in John 5 when He says, “I can do nothing on my own.”

And yet, we seem to elevate leaders who promote themselves as “self-made men and women.” Perhaps what Jesus was really looking to develop were Visionary Stewards. You know, the kind of people that aren’t afraid to humiliate themselves by suggesting that five small loaves of bread and two measly fish could in any way impact the appetites of 5,000 men and many more women and children.

And then there’s the boy. The lad who relinquishes his personal provision in an act of faith. If he had started his day with a vision of feeding thousands with a brown bag inventory calibrated for one, we might well have esteemed him as a leadership prodigy. A leader of uncharacteristic insight and vision. But that’s not what happened. His vision, his dream, his courage started and ended in the hands of Jesus.

Visionary Leadership promotes the profile and platform of the leader, while visionary stewardship elevates the power of the hands that bless the gift. One clings to control; the other liberates. One builds from the foundation of personal credibility and the other understands that He must increase and I must decrease.  One is constrained by the talent and resources and capacity of the authority granted; the other is propelled from a heart of vulnerability and multiplied by the infinite omnipotence of the Creator. One counts and calibrates the potential of the inventory; the other relinquishes control and unleashes miraculous power.

“…but what are they for so many?”

Even as Andrew dropped the loaves and fish into the hands of the Master he wondered; he wavered. A swell of foolishness rose in his gut as his fellow disciples likely snickered under their breath.

It was up to Jesus now. And Jesus rested on the power of the Almighty.

A courageous and outrageous act of stewardship. Visionary stewardship.

Insignificant and inadequate resources… when I cling to them, they feed me; when I release them, there are leftovers. Baskets full of leftovers.

God doesn’t need me to be a visionary leader of a 72-year-old movement… He asks me to confess, like Jesus did, that I can do nothing on my own. Until and unless I heed the instruction that Jesus gave to Andrew… “Bring them here to me,” I will be confined to the barriers of my own imagination. But my boundaries are where Jesus begins, not ends.

Bring them. Barley loaves. A couple of fish.

Trust me… that is precisely what visionary stewards do. They trust Him and not themselves. And when we do, if we do, crowds get fed.

20 million teenagers in the United States don’t know about the love of Jesus. They’re not waiting for a visionary leader; they’re hungry for an omnipotent and loving God.

I’ve got my lunch sack packed… decision time.

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