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Walking with Jesus is a journey. One described in Hebrews 12 as a race. but this isn’t an everyday sprint, no, the life of a disciple is much more like a marathon. And on this long journey in the same direction, we travel with our baggage.
Family Pains
The journey of life is long and often filled with dark times, So God prepares us for it, by teaching us to make our hearts light, both in presence and in capacity. But Jesus offers hope on this journey, as we see in his invitation in our key verse Matthew 11:28-29
Matthew 11:28–29 (NLT)
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
When our hearts are light in capacity, they are unburdened. Jesus trades our burdensome yokes of baggage for the freedom in His teaching. Humility and gentleness are the yoke that we trade for. And as we learn these traits over time, our presence changes as well. Becoming more like Jesus, the light of the World. This trading of our burdens for His blessings is what we call discipleship. And as we grow in our discipleship of Jesus, we find rest for our souls.
And yet, even while we replace our captivity for the captivating, we continue to find ourselves, inevitably, in the same place. As Romans 3:23 puts it, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” No matter how hard we try to obey, we still fail. No matter how good we are, we still sin. We are inadequate.
The problem with adequacy: it gives us too much confidence in our own ability to succeed apart from God.

Apostles Sent Out/Return

In all of the Gospels, the four books that tell the story of Jesus, there are two miracles recorded multilaterally. Chiefly, the resurrection of Jesus, and the Feeding of the 5000. Having such a diverse view of this event helps us to illustrate how “adequacy” puts a divide between us and the divine.
Luke 9 begins by telling of this monumental moment when Jesus sends out the Twelve to “...proclaim the Kingdom of God and to heal.”
Luke 9:3–4 ESV
And he said to them, “Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not have two tunics. And whatever house you enter, stay there, and from there depart.
God’s desire was for them to rely completely on Him. Just as He preached in Matthew 6:25 ““Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?”
And they do! In fact, they’re so effective that it actually catches the attention of Herod(had John the Baptist beheaded.) Up to this point, Jesus had only been a blip on the radar as a baby, but that plot was foiled thanks to some wise men who knew enough to take the long way home.
Upon their successful return, Mark tells us that they go off to rest...
Mark 6:30–31 NLT
The apostles returned to Jesus from their ministry tour and told him all they had done and taught. Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn’t even have time to eat.
So here they are, pumped to be with Jesus, probably worn out from a long journey, and each of them excited to tell Jesus about the miracles they performed and the people they preached the Gospel to. But that wouldn’t last long.
Mark 6:34–36 (ESV)
When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things. And when it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the hour is now late. Send them away to go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.”
Now this may not seem like much, but this is actually one of the first place that our inadequacy shows up. The Apostles are expecting to rest, spend some time with their teacher, and instead, they are surrounded by the crowds again, who Mark says walked over 5 miles to reach them! Notice specifically how it says Jesus responds, and then how it says the Apostles respond. Jesus welcomed them, the Apostles sought to send them away. They’re exhausted, and this isn’t what they expected to return to...
Can you relate?
Any Moms out there raising tiny humans that you may occasionally need a break from?
Anyone battling ongoing sickness, wishing you could just catch your breathe?
Anyone feel like the harder you work, the faster the price of everything rises, and no matter how hard we seem to try, everything seems to be falling apart? The economy is a mess, leadership in shambles, and the American Dream sounds more like the American Dream-on... No just me?
When life falls short of our expectations, our inadequacy make us feel like our efforts are in vain.
It’s no accident that Mark notes that Jesus had compassion on them like sheep without a shepherd. Despite the popular belief that sheep are stupid, they are actually incredibly intelligent. They have very impressive cognitive ability and just like humans, they form deep and lasting bonds with each other, they stick up for one another in fights, and they grieve when they lose a friend. They experience all of the same emotions that we do including fear, joy, boredom, anger and happiness to name a few.
Of course, they still do things like this...
Cue Sheep Clip
So maybe a better way to describe a sheep isn’t as “unintelligent” but rather as “inadequate.” Take the lost sheep from the parable. Who knows where that little guy wandered off… Then shepherd finally brings him home.
Life often reminds us how often we are like sheep. When we feel adequate, we too are prone to wander. Prone to find ourselves getting lost amongst the hills and valleys that spread out over the land around us. Our shepherd is never far, but in our confidence of our adequacy, we can place ourselves in precarious positions.
-Ideas we are willing to be influenced by
-People we surround ourselves with
-Places we allow ourselves to go
A sheep. Unable to succeed independent of support from their shepherd. But is that truly a bad thing?
The Big Idea: When life reminds you that you’re a sheep, rest in the power and presence of the Shepherd.
So How can we find rest in our Shepherd when life doesn’t deliver what we were expecting?
Rest in the knowledge that God is still using us, even in our inadequacy.
The disciples went from the mountain to the valley so fast they could get the spiritual bends. But it doesn’t stop Jesus from welcoming the people and it doesn’t stop Jesus from using His disciples to serve them. Despite our inadequacy, and sometimes even in use of it, God is using inadequate people to point to a God who is adequate in all things.

“You give them something to eat.”

All the other Gospels continue the story simply saying that Jesus tells his disciples “You give them something to eat.” Only John takes the time for Philip’s conversation with Jesus.
But Philip’s conversation with Jesus reveals just how frequently inadequacy’s frequency can be found.
John 6:5–7 NLT
Jesus soon saw a huge crowd of people coming to look for him. Turning to Philip, he asked, “Where can we buy bread to feed all these people?” He was testing Philip, for he already knew what he was going to do. Philip replied, “Even if we worked for months, we wouldn’t have enough money to feed them!”
When life overwhelms us, our inadequacy leaves us feeling like our situation is hopeless.
Buttonwood Plaza Fire. Gilbertsons, Ushers, and many others affected. As we watched at 3am as the fire roared and a legion of firefighters fought to control it, I felt so inadequate. As the flames grew taller, our hopes grew smaller. There was nothing we could do but watch it burn.
And yet, the next morning...
John 6:9 ESV
“There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?”
God reminds us of His restful presence, through the people and resources he provides.
John 6:16–19 ESV
When evening came, his disciples went down to the sea, got into a boat, and started across the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. The sea became rough because a strong wind was blowing. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were frightened.
All of a sudden, these men who had been performing miracles are powerless in the face of nature. Despite everything they had just witnessed Jesus do, everything they themselves had just done, they feel powerless and afraid in this moment.
When life takes away our “strength”, our inadequacy causes us to doubt its source.
Mom Interview
What have you done for a living?
What would you have said was your greatest strength?
Tells us about your accident.
How has God transformed you since then?
Where has God show you new strengths?
How are you resting in His power and presence?
God reminds us of His overwhelming power over this world and the chaos in it.
Psalm 127:1 NLT
Unless the Lord builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted. Unless the Lord protects a city, guarding it with sentries will do no good.

Yield what you have, not what you don’t have.

Most of us aren’t too weak to serve the Lord. We’re too strong, or at least we think we are. The Lord does not want our adequacy; He wants our inadequacy so that we trust Him to supply what we lack. When we’re weak, then we’re strong.
2 Corinthians 12:9–10 ESV
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Psalm 23 “A Psalm of David. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
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