This past weekend we wrapped a two-part vision calling Grace Community Church to be Side By Side this year. The basis of this call was the fact that we are needy and we are needed. Everyone in our church has needs, and therefore everyone is needed. It’s actually one of those counterintuitive truths about life. (Kind of like the harder you swing to hit a golf ball, the worse the results!)
We’re not inclined to conclude that needy people are needed, but your neediness can actually be a gift for others. As God meets you in your neediness, you are uniquely positioned to meet someone else’s neediness because you know the importance of coming side by side with someone. After all, you needed someone to come side by side with you. When you do it remembering your own neediness, it actually causes you to come side by side with someone in humility and compassion – exactly the way you would want someone to come side by side with you!
Let me give you another example of what this looks like in addition to the touching example from Bill & Ruth Williams’ story (thanks again, Bill and Ruth!) In Matthew 14:15-20, a crowd follows Jesus into a desolate place. Jesus teaches, heals, and ministers to the crowd. Seeing it was getting late, the disciples suggest that Jesus should send the crowds away on a dinner break. Jesus shocks the disciples by telling them to feed the crowd…in the wilderness…with no money.
The disciples are needy. They don’t have what it takes to do what Jesus commands. All they have is five pieces of bread and two fish. Jesus responds with five of the most hopeful words of this section – “BRING THEM HERE TO ME.” Bring what you have. Watch what I do with it. You probably can guess how the story goes. He has them sit, then begins to break the bread and distribute it to the crowds. And the small one-person meal turns into an all-you-can-eat buffet! They ate and were satisfied, and there are twelve baskets full leftover.
Now the moral of this story is NOT that we need to share our lunch! I think it rather shows that Jesus is God, and as God he can feed his people. The disciples simply brought what they had, and Jesus did the rest.
You are needed not because what you have is so abundant or extravagant, but because Jesus will meet the needs of his people through it. Just like he meets your needs. Neediness and Neededness – what a great opportunity for God to demonstrate the extravagance of his grace and the strength of his power. I hope you’ll experience it with us this year…side by side.