by Bob Wickizer

Are Your Baskets Big Enough?
Rev. Bob Wickizer
Nehemiah 9:16-20; Psalm 78:14-20,23-25; Romans 8:35-39; Matthew 14:13-21
1 August, 1999

One Sunday last May, our Stewardship chairman held a splendid parish meeting in which we were given three scenarios designed to gather our hopes, concerns and dreams for St. Mary's. In the case where we were asked "What are the biggest challenges facing St. Mary's," the top challenge cited by more than a third of the entire group involved parish growth. So in the context of today's gospel story about feeding five thousand by starting with a few fish and a few loaves of bread, let's consider for a moment two models of growth.

First up is what I call the "corporate model." We can see a shadow of this model in the words of the disciples... "This is a deserted place and the hour is now late; send the crowds away so that they may buy food for themselves We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish." That's the same kind of thinking our corporate and government leaders go through every day. The corporate model follows a standard outline familiar to everyone. It goes like this: Plan (This is a deserted place and the hour is now late.), Assign tasks (Send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves), Negotiate conflicts (You give them something to eat.), Budget & obtain funds (We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish.), and at this point our poor disciples behave like any sensible business person in any generation. We can't implement this plan because we don't have enough money or we don't have enough food or we don't have enough of whatever. It's a mentality and a spirituality of scarcity and control. And this spirituality of scarcity permeates the very core of our being from the moment we arrive at church on Sunday to the everyday work and home worlds in which we live.

The spirituality of scarcity tells us that there is never enough whether we are struggling with our f ...

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