I then shall live as one who's learned compassion.
I've been so loved, that I'll risk loving too.
I know how fear builds walls instead of bridges;
I'll dare to see another's point of view.
And when relationships demand commitment,
Then I'll be there to care and follow through.

from “I Then Shall Live” by Gloria Gaither (1981)

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“A youth here has five barley loaves and two fish. But what good is that for a crowd like this?”

Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass there. They sat down, about five thousand of them. Then Jesus took the bread. When he had given thanks, he distributed it to those who were sitting there. He did the same with the fish, each getting as much as they wanted. When they had plenty to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather up the leftover pieces, so that nothing will be wasted.” So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves that had been left over by those who had eaten.

John 6:9-13

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Our backpacks hold textbooks, pens, binders, notebooks, our lunches, calculators, gym clothes, and our house keys. With whom are we willing to share these contents?

We may be more eager to loan a pen to the cute girl or boy in our class, but would we be willing to loan our expensive calculator to someone that we barely know? We might not get it back! What about our lunch? Logic says that we have a meal that is enough for us, and we should use it for only ourself. If we give up our meal, we may not get anything in return. Is it worth the risk?

Jesus is teaching, and there’s a crowd gathered with no food to eat. A young person reaches into his bag and gives his whole dinner to be shared with the group. A miracle happens and fish and bread are multiplied to feed the masses, with baskets leftover.

When we open our bags and share out of generous hearts, God can multiply our efforts to create abundance out of what we have.

Ben Brown

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God of enough, help me to be generous today. Help me to notice areas of abundant blessing and to give without the promise of recognition or hope of being blessed in return. Grant me the ability to risk for love when it is so much easier to do nothing. Amen.

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Perhaps nothing helps us make the movement from our little selves to a larger world than remembering God in gratitude. Such a perspective puts God in view in all of life, not just in the moments we set aside for worship or spiritual disciplines. Not just in the moments when life seems easy.

Henri Nouwen in Turning My Mourning into Dancing (2004)

Go today in gratitude.

Go today with God.

Ben Brown

Rev. Ben Brown is the Minister of Youth at First Baptist Church in Waynesboro, VA. Ben is a native of Virginia and has degrees from Virginia Commonwealth University and BTSR. He is married to Courtney, and they enjoy running, hiking, laughing, and spending time with family and friends. Ben is obsessed with VCU basketball and dreams of their return run to the Final Four.

Making Space - Stillness

Carter Harrell

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