When I look IN at our congregation, I see willing hearts and a level of generosity, but also seemingly endless limits: small size, advanced age, isolation, health issues, fixed incomes....
When I look IN and OUT, I see with deficit-clouded eyes. I exclaim, with Phillip, "Six months' wages couldn't feed these people!" I ask, with Peter, "What is one boy's small lunch for these thousands of mouths?" When I look out I see overwhelming need; when I look in I see only a lack of resources.
But what if, like Jesus, I looked UP instead? (Matthew 14:19) When I look UP I see the God of all creation, who made everything out of nothing. And he keeps on doing it! He did it in the wilderness, when he rained down manna (literally, "what is it?") from heaven and fed a million hungry Israelites! He did it at a wedding when the wine ran out and he transformed the nothingness of water into the best of wines! And he did it—twice—on Galilean hillsides when he turned a few loaves of bread and some fish into a feast.
What's more: when God turns nothing into something, there's always plenty. Leftovers. Enough to remind us, if we'll open our eyes, to look UP.
I wonder ... what might God do in us and through us if we simply bring what we have—even that stuff that seems so useless or insignificant, offer it to him ... then look up and give thanks?