Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted. And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.”
John 6:11,12 ESV
One day, a long time ago, I was reading John’s account of Jesus feeding a crowd by multiplying a young guy’s lunch of fish and bread, staples in those times. As often happens when believers read the Bible, a phrase within the text presented itself as it never had before. This phrase, “as much as they wanted.” At the time, I was reading the King James Version, and the phrase was, “as much as they would.”
Jesus offered more than enough, and they took much as they would.
The Greek word rendered as wanted or would in these different translations is thelo, which conveys active choice, rather than passive consent. It conveys desire too. It’s the same word translated “Whoever desires” in Revelation 22:17.
And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.
I have heard the call to come and drink. To take and eat. I hear it this morning. The call to limitless possibilities for offering good to a world filled with poverty and evil. All we have to do is reach for it, break it open, pass it on. As much as we will. Without becoming satisfied. Without stopping. Abundance can come from anywhere. It can come from seemingly nowhere, from the least God’s children have to offer—barely enough for themselves—and satisfy a lot of people.
It isn’t wise to measure God’s generosity by the stinginess of religion. The Bible says the only pure religion is one that gives to those who lack (James 1:27). We model the Lord when we give freely, expecting nothing in return.
Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they might have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)
As we enter this holiday season, in times that seem far spent, let’s become as little children, before whom the world is filled with possibilities. Before whom anything and everything is possible. Let’s become as children, who can accomplish anything they desire, if they desire it enough. Let’s keep reaching as if all of life is still ahead. Because it is.
Because enough is never enough.