Proper 12B’21
25 July 2021
John 6.1-21
St. Luke’s Episcopal Church
North Little Rock, Arkansas
The Rev. Carey Stone
“You Are Enough – We Are Enough!”

Teach us, O Lord, not to forget, that little is much, when it is given to you.; through Christ our Lord. Amen.

I don’t have a catchy story or joke to begin my sermon with today in order to capture your attention, so I’ll have to rely on a question to pique your curiosity: ‘Could you use some hope?’ I hope you will stay tuned for the next few minutes!

The four Gospel writers have each included the story found in today’s reading from John’s gospel traditionally known as “The Feeding of the Five Thousand.” Not all the stories made the cut for each evangelist, but this one did. What is it about this story that all four writers thought it needed to be included? There must be something about it that has a universal appeal, something that almost anyone could relate to.

The common denominator in the story of the feeding of the five thousand is actually a lie that we all believe to be true about ourselves – that we are not enough. We are not rich enough, smart enough, beautiful or handsome enough, strong enough, talented enough, and whatever we have is never good enough to accomplish anything that really matters.

Now for the “Cliff Notes” to the story: A crowd of thousands had been following Jesus from town to town drawn in by his powerful, love filled teaching and preaching for three entire days, without having anything to eat. Now folks, that’s some spiritual hunger right there!

They wind up in a little town on the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee called, Tabgha. Here standing on top of a rock, and surrounded by thousands of weary and hungry travelers, Jesus sees an opportunity for a miracle. Like all of Jesus’ miracles he takes ordinary people, places, and things and transforms them right before the eyes of the people.

Right from the beginning it’s a setup. Jesus turns to Philip and asks, “Where are we going to be able to buy enough bread for these people to eat?” Philip, just like we would, answers with a quote from the profit and loss sheet: “Why, six months wages (even if we had it and we don’t) wouldn’t buy enough bread for everyone to get even a small piece.” Philip had a keen sense of the obvious, and was a master at pointing out what they didn’t have.

Next comes another disciple, Andrew, who gives Jesus the inventory report: There’s one little boy who brought a lunch, with a grand total of five loaves and two fish. And, beginning with the first word of all pessimist’s sentences he says the word “But!” “But what are they among so many people?” So, the finnce committee says there’s not enough money, and the ushers and greeters committee could only find one boy and his meager lunch. The vestry of disciples would be forced to vote “no” on any feeding program, the people, sadly, would have to be sent home on an empty stomach.

Jesus, filled with faith, tells the disciples to go and find the boy and have him bring his lunch to him. And then in what becomes the four-fold formula for divine multiplication; Jesus takes the bread, blesses the bread, breaks the bread, and gives the bread to the disciples to distribute. He does the same with the two fish. After this meal the disciples are able to collect 12 basketfuls of leftovers – a miracle! In a community of ordinary people who didn’t have enough, and who felt like they weren’t enough, and surrounded by needs that were insurmountable, Jesus shows them, and us, that who we are and what we have, when given to God will be more than enough for the task Jesus calls us to.


A little short young woman from Albania, along with her thirteen female companions began the “Missionaries of Charity” in Kolkata, India to minster to orphans. The community grew to be thousands and to serve millions – we know the little Albanian today as St. Teresa of Kolkata.


In 1976, Millard and Linda Fuller became burdened by the lack of affordable housing for the working poor. With the Fullers and a handful of others, they sat out to do something about it and Habitat for Humanity was born, who has now helped thousands into homes of their own.

Our accounting and our evaluations will always fall short and land us in the red, our resources will never be enough, and we will feel woefully inadequate to the tasks of meeting the insurmountable needs that are all around us. But when we finally decide to quit looking at what we don’t have, and who we are not, and instead to humbly offer our meager selves and resources to God, ripples of Christ miracles will continue to happen.

To this day, if you go the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee to the small town of Tabgha you will see a beautiful church called the Church of Multiplication. The church is built on the spot traditionally identified as the place where Jesus performed his miracle of the loaves and fish. As you enter the church your eyes will be drawn to the altar at the center. Directly beneath the altar is the rock, believed to be the rock Jesus, who is the rock, stood upon to perform his miracle. On the floor directly in front of the altar is a mosaic from the 4th century. [Take a look at the front cover of your service leaflet.] This is a photo of the actual mosaic where we find the basket containing the five barley loaves flanked by a fish on each side – the symbol that our inadequacy is God’s adequacy, our adversity is God’s opportunity, our need is God’s supply, our limited gifts are exponentially multiplied.

So, dear friends of St. Luke’s, now is not the time for us to look at what we don’t have – but what we do. This month, the vestry are all taking an inventory to identify or reidentify the spiritual gifts that they have each been given. We will offer this inventory to the entire parish in August. We will look forward to reidentifying gifts that we have forgotten or minimized, and discover gifts we didn’t even know we had. We will be looking as a church, at the gifts we can uniquely offer to God, our church, and beyond our walls as we serve our wider community.

            Take my life and let it be consecrated Lord to thee;

            Take my hands, and let them move at the impulse

            Of thy love.

            Take my intellect, and use every power as thou

            shalt choose; ever only, all for thee.


            Glory to God whose power, working in us, can do infinitely

            more than we can ask or imagine: Glory to him from

            generation to generation in the Church, and in Christ Jesus

            For ever and ever. Amen.   Ephesians 3.20-21 BCP p.126