Thursday, November 7, 2013
Collect the Leftovers
By Odon Bulamba, September 2013
How much did you pay to God for giving you the air that you breathe today? Did you think about the fact that you are only alive because the air is given to you freely? This air is extremely expensive and valuable but we have it for free. It would be better to lose my sight than lose my ability to breathe. For God, the way that we see things is not the way that He sees things. God looks at those who are alive sometimes and sees them as dead which is why He had to send someone to save us.
Jesus put on a body (this jacket = flesh) and was not born at the maternity at Waikato hospital with caring nurses and pretty atmosphere. His mother at 9 months pregnant had to go on the back of the donkey; no ambulance for her. How many women would accept that today?
Mary gave birth in a very poor condition; in a place where animals were sleeping. Who would accept their child to be born where cows sleep? Jesus grew up poor in the poorest area. Jesus never knew luxury on this earth and although he was God, he accepted to live in these conditions.
Jesus wanted to become a simple man. His father was a carpenter and He was not education at school. At the age of 30 He started His ministry. The Bible says, He came as God to John the Baptist who said, “I’m baptizing people but the one coming will use fire, I’m using water but He is bringing fire”. It’s easy to touch water but you’ll think twice about fire. Jesus coming to baptize with fire; who will accept that type of baptism? If someone says to you, I’ll use fire to baptize you, you’ll not want it because fire is dangerous. Fire brings persecution and torture and can easily be consumed by fire so we have a fear of fire. If you want the baptism of God, you have to accept to be consumed and accept your life to be changed.
After Jesus was baptized, He selected his disciplesiples and went to Canaan where there was a wedding celebration. The people celebrating needed wine so Jesus said, fill these with water and the water was turned to wine. Jesus was going one step up at a time. He was a poor person and no one wanted Him and then John talks about Him bringing the baptism of fire and now there is this miracle of water to wine so people are now talking about Him.
Then Jesus moved to another step where he met with Nicodemusodemus. It was night time and he came to Jesus in secret, “tell me” he had the knowledge and knew very well the Word of God. He wanted to know more and Jesus said, “you must be born again”. Nicodemusodemus thought he was clever asking how he can be born again and maybe it was a type of mockery, ‘what do you know you man from a poor nation, how can I go back into my mother’s womb?’ It was hard for Nicodemusodemus to understand because Jesus was talking about spiritual things.
Jesus wanted people to understand the spiritual life and turned water to wine for a spiritual teaching. The next step in the life of Jesus is the Samaritan woman who was at the well around 12pm. Usually Israelite women in that culture fetch water very early in morning so they can have a shower in the pure water from that river. But Samaritan woman couldn’t come early in the morning because she was a prostitute and people would bully her if she came early so she went after everybody had gone. How do you feel when people are aggressive towards you? How uncomfortable do you feel when people abuse you? How much peace do you feel when all your friends are against you?
Jesus said to the woman, “give me water and I’ll give you back water that is eternal life”. The woman said, “I can’t because I don’t belong to your tribe”. He said, “if you knew her you were talking to”. He answered this way because He wanted her to think about spiritual life. Jesus wants us to think deeper about the spiritual life rather than physical life.
Our business according to John 6:12, is to “gather up the leftovers so nothing will be lost”.
Jesus spoke to Nicodemus, to a Samaritan woman and now it is our time for Him to talk to us. After talking to the Samaritan woman, it was evening time and Jesus left with his disciples. A crowd was following Him and He told the disciples tell them to sit on the grass. When you are following Jesus, He will ask you to sit and listen, not because you are tired but because if you are walking you might miss what He is trying to tell you. Then Jesus started to preach and His preaching was going on and on and people were like, ‘oh, this man can talk, oh it’s too long, can you be quiet’ but no one said that out loud.
To my surprise it was the disciples who stood up first and told Him, ‘master people are tired, they need food because it is getting late, shops will close, please allow them to get food’. If you think deeply, the Bible doesn’t say the people sent the disciples to tell Jesus, but they did it on their own as if Jesus could forget something important. How often when we need something we use other people’s names for example we might tell the boss, ‘people are saying’ when it is really our intention. Jesus wanted us to learn something. When we need something, just come straight to God and tell Him your problem and what you need rather than going through other people.
Jesus said, ‘what do you people have, feed them’. Jesus was told, ‘we have nothing’. When you tell God I’m hungry, my brothers and sisters need something and Jesus tells you, ‘give what you have’ and you say, ‘you see I have nothing but you are asking me to give it to someone else’.
On this day, a little boy had five bread and two fish. That is what he carried with him. When you go to the meetings, what do you take with you? When you go to listen to the Bible, what do you take? Some go empty so they can be filled but at some stage you start to feel hungry for something else and that is when you see people distracted, they are at church but thinking about the lunch afterwards, or thinking about their husband, or about their holiday. They are in church but hungry for something else because they didn’t possess it.
Jesus said, ‘bring the child here’. There were 5,000 men (not including children or women). Someone who wasn’t even counted is the one holding the treasure. The child held the bread and fish that the entire community will benefit from, wasn’t even counted. Don’t minimize yourself, for God the little that you hold is the most important, no matter what others say.
The disciples approached the boy and asked for the bread and fish. Maybe he didn’t eat all day and now he is asked to share with others. Imagine I (Odon) bringing Eden up front (a small toddler). [Odon calls Eden to come up but she says no]. For a child it’s easy to say no and they won’t think about the consequences but this little boy offered what he had.
The Bible tells us that Jesus said to put the people into groups of 50. They were sitting down and now forced to sit into groups of 50. Once sitting, Jesus picked up the bread from the child, blessed it, broke it, gave it to disciples and told them to distribute it. This reminds us that the little that you have, the small message you have, the little knowledge of the Word of God, take it and use it for God. Many Christians are afraid to share Word of God.
On Friday went into town and these pretty girls were on the street and I said, “honeys, let me talk to you” and they looked at me like I am an ugly old person. They came up to me and I said, “tonight is a good night”. I asked them what they will do and they said they would go dancing for fun. I asked them if they wanted what I had, I told them I had something funny and I could share it with them. I asked them to sit on the seat next to me so I can share with them. I said, “Do you know that someone can take the breath from you and you can become a dead person? You could die today and you have to tell God this is what I have been doing? After this life is an eternal life. I will tell you something, when I was young, I was extremely naughty. I used to do things that you’d never believe. When I became a scout and being trained as a soldier, I was taught to be very naughty. I could take off your shoes without you knowing. I was very acrobatic and could jump and roll out of windows. This training is according to my country way, so I could kill people. Someone can appear to be innocent and quiet but they can kill, destroy and harm. One time my mum told me, do you know there is someone who can remove you from where you are and bring you down. Regardless of my age, I was only 9 years old when I started to preach and I’d started to learn jujitsu because it was a prestige.”
Then I asked one of the girls, ‘do you see what I mean?’ Then I took one of her clips from out of her hair without her knowing. Satan can quickly come into your life and steal without you realizing it. I’ll have just a sip of this wine and then it turns into 10 bottles or I’ll lie just a bit and tomorrow you will be called a liar. All these 7 girls that I was talking to prayed and I told them, go home to sleep.
When Jesus broke the bread that is when the miracle started. When those pieces of bread were there, no one could see the miracle. How could this bread feed 5,000? He broke off small pieces and kept breaking pieces over and over and then baskets started to fill up. The disciples gave it to the people. We are disciples of Jesus and He is giving us today a piece of bread and He asks us to give those people around us some food. When was the last time you gave someone spiritual food?
Last week I went to McDonald’s and asked for everything on the menu but the lady doubted and thought I was not serious and she wouldn’t serve me. I had to ask the manager and he said, ‘this is impossible’. I told Him, ‘I want to buy the food for you’ but the manager didn’t need McDonalds because he was surrounded by it and could make his own burger for less than what it would cost me to buy it. Sometimes we have things we don’t need but others are dying for it. How much spiritual food do you have in your store, how many preachings have you heard and how much Word of God have you read and listened to? Why can’t you share it? Many say, ‘I’m too shy’.
When I got my PhD I was the first black person in Canada who gained a PhD with high distinction and I was only 23 years at that time and forgot it all came from God. I could sit my exams without study. I could repeat word for word what the lecture would tell me. I could sit a 2 hour exam in 1 hour and most of the time I would preach in churches and streets right before my exams.
Sometimes God gives us things and we think we are special, I’m an expert while you others are nothing. Once I got that PhD I had an offer from 4 countries and people were after me. When I put God aside from life, God said to me one morning while I was praying before going to work, ‘pick up your diploma’ and He asked me to destroy it. It was very hard to destroy it. I thought God was going to bless it but He asked me to destroy it. I destroyed it but when I asked for another copy the University said it can’t be replaced, once it is gone, it is gone. I used to speak 13 languages but suddenly they started to disappear. God wanted me to wake up.
The people in the story of John ate the bread and fish and after eating Jesus said to collect the left overs. The people were full and satisfied and He didn’t want to leave the leftovers for animals or birds. In a restaurant here in hamilton, I went to see the leftover garbage and it was not attractive. Imagine collecting everybody’s leftover food when you are at home and putting it all together on one plate. It doesn’t look attractive: bones, potatoes, banana skins all together.
The disciples thought, ‘this is just rubbish, come on Jesus’. Most people don’t like to come close to rubbish. Yet, the chef cooked it, took time and effort for you to eat but the remaining is waste. Jesus didn’t want to waste it. Jesus made the food, He multiplied it. When God blesses you, He gives you more than enough, He will multiply it only when you accept to feed others. When you offer to God, you will see multiplication.
Very often I live like a bird, I wake up and have no money but before it’s too late I’ll have money and even more. Very often, wherever I go, people give to me. Whatever I give, I don’t hesitate to give it away. Whenever I need $5, I surrender the issue to God’s hand and ask Him to take care of it and then I get more than $5.
David said, my cup is full and overflowing. Tell God, look at my job, it’s small but multiply it. Tell God this is my situation, break it again and multiply it. One time we went somewhere and met a lady who was 66 years old and her only purpose was to have a child. She declared, ‘if God can give me a child then I will become a believer’. According to science, once you reach an age, you can’t give birth and she asked us to pray for her, ‘If you want me to believe, do this’. How can you sort this out? God this is just a small piece of bread back to you, to feed all those who will testify and once she gives back the story, it will bring more for you.
Why did Jesus ask them to collect the reminder and take them with you? The disciples collected all of it. They were to take the boat and He was to pray on mountain. The disciples rowed the boat and somewhere in middle of sea, the waves came and Jesus started to walk towards the disciples on the water. The disciples wandered who it was, they were afraid of a ghost on the water. Even if you are a good swimmer, where will you go?
One time we were camping and were told to kill the fire before going to bed but we thought ‘rubbish, that fire must be there all night’. Rhinos and hippos always come towards the smell of fire. Someone saw this big animal coming and screamed, ‘we are dying’ and I was like, ‘be quiet, let me sleep’. But then I woke up and saw it was very close to me. I froze in front of the animal and it came closer and I peed in my pants and was shaking and I thought I was dying and all my friends were in the trees looking at me. I didn’t know what to do. The animal sat down and I can tell you, those three minutes felt like 3 years. The animal left, I ran straight into a tree and I realized I could easily lose my life if I don’t listen to the alarm in my life.
Tell God, this is dangerous, help. Those who saw the ghost coming, they could see the waves coming, they recognized His voice. Sometimes God will come to you through the waves and we think it is satan but it is God Himself. When problems come, Jesus will be there to protect you. If you want victory, victory comes from God. We all want to be victorious. Sometimes situations bring us down and things turn wrong and we need victory. It’s between God’s hands and you only see it when you offer it to Jesus and ask for His solution. If you don’t give it to God, you won’t get anything back. If you do as Jesus asked you to do, then you will see the result. You need to accept Him. If you want yourself to change, ask God to break you. God changed me completely after I asked to be broken. I went to Sweden and was being translated wrongly. God changed the situation and I started to speak the Swedish language. It’s your turn today to speak another language and you’ll see God bringing solutions to your problems.
Pray for yourself and your children.