In the movie, Groundhog Day, a weatherman, whose role was played by actor Bill Murray, wakes up on February 2, which is Groundhog Day in the U.S., but then keeps awakening only to find himself living that same day again and again. Thus, the term "groundhog day" has come to mean an experience or event that tends to repeat itself in every detail. There was in instance of this phenomenon in Jesus' ministry and it involved the miracle we have come to know as the feeding of the multitude or the multiplication of the loaves and fishes. We looked at the first such miracle last week, but remarkably, the same miracle occurred shortly thereafter, but the disciples were oblivious to the the similarities between the two scenarios. Let's look at the second miracle and see how it applies to our current theme of unlocking the power of your thinking.
WRONG SIDE OF THE TRACKS
For the story of this second multiplication, let's look at Matthew's account:
Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.” His disciples answered, “Where could we get enough bread in this remote place to feed such a crowd?” “How many loaves do you have?” Jesus asked. “Seven,” they replied, “and a few small fish." He told the crowd to sit down on the ground. Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, and when he had given thanks, he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and they in turn to the people. They all ate and were satisfied. Afterward the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those who ate was four thousand men, besides women and children (Matthew 15:32-38).
It is remarkable that the disciples saw no connection between this crowd and the one Jesus had previously fed. I would think one of them would have said, "Hey, this is just like before. Why don't we find out what we have, pray over it, and feed these people?" Not one of them did, however, and it was the groundhog day principle in spiritual terms. From this, we can see that unless they learned to change their thinking, they were destined, doomed even, to repeat the same behavior for the remainder of their days. The same is true for you.
There is a good chance the disciples did not think about feeding the crowd as they had previously done because of where this crowd was located. The first multiplication had taken place in Galilee among the Jews, but in Matthew 15, Jesus had taken them across the Lake to a region with more Gentiles. Perhaps they did not "think" that God would or could bless those folks like He did their fellow Jews, so therefore it never occurred to them that God wanted or was able to perform a similar miracle on that side of the Lake—which for them was on the wrong side of the tracks, so to speak.
HARDENING OF THE HEART-ERIES
Next week, we will look at one more lesson from these two miracles that pertains to your thinking, but for now, let's see what we can learn to help us unlock the power of our own thinking. I suggest you start by identifying with these disciples in their thinking. Pray, "Lord, I am just like Your followers in this story. My thinking is limited and I easily forget what you have done in the past, so therefore I miss opportunities to be part of what You want to do now." Second, then pray, "God, open my eyes to where my thinking is limited or off due to a hardening of my heart-eries." Ask God to show you what you can't see because of your thinking where you, your purpose, or other people are concerned. Once you have done this, then pray these words that Paul wrote, but pray them for yourself:
I pray that the eyes of my heart may be enlightened in order that I may know the hope to which You have called me, the riches of Your glorious inheritance in Your holy people, and Your incomparably great power for me who believes. That power is the same as the mighty strength You exerted when You raised Christ from the dead and seated him at Your right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come (Ephesians 1:18-21, pronouns in bold were changed by the author).
Pray this prayer over your life and work. Pray it again and again. Pray it with the intent to see where your thinking is deficient and thus limiting you, just like it did the disciples at the second miraculous feeding. God has more for you than a groundhog-day life where you are restricted to each day's experience being pretty much the same as the previous day. There is no limit to what God can do with and for you except in your own mind and thinking. I encourage you to break out of the groundhog-day mentality and cycle, freed to enjoy the exhilaration of God's ability to use you without the restrictions you have put on Him due to your limited thinking. Have a blessed week.