Cal Jernigan – Senior Pastor
Any student of Jesus cannot help but observe his remarkable ability to take little and make much out of it. I was reflecting on this recently as I was reading The Story. Jesus did this when he turned a Long John Silvers snack-pak of a handful of biscuits and a few fish into enough food to feed 5000 hungry people. After they had all gorged themselves, there were twelve basketfuls of leftovers. He did it again, when at a wedding they ran out of wine. He took something utterly ordinary-plain old water, and turned it into wine. As if this wasn’t noteworthy enough, those who tasted the wine couldn’t help but comment on the outstanding quality and nature of it. Think about this… how do you make extraordinary wine? You age it! Jesus did this within moments. Only Jesus. Water to wine. Wow, what a miracle!
This reminds me of a story I heard years ago. It’s about a medieval village that was told that they were going to be paid by a visit by their king. While the immediate reaction of some was fear, the entire village was assured his coming was simply a gesture of his care and concern for them. He just wanted to be with them. They were overcome with joy at this news and immediately set out to make preparations for his arrival. The village leaders counseled together to determine how they, as an entire village, might in return demonstrate their honor and respect for him as their king. After no little amount of deliberation, it was decided that since they were a village renowned for the quality of the chardonnay wine they produced, they would offer the king the very best wine from their region. But then a disagreement broke out among them regarding from which of the family vineyards the wine would be given. Each family secretly believed that they alone produced the very best wine of their village. It seemed selfish to the leaders to allow the honor to be given to only one family. After more deliberation, it was determined that the greatest way to honor the king was to have every family in the village bring a liter of their best chardonnay and they would combine it all together and offer the best of the best to their king. All in the village agreed this would be a memorable way to honor their king.
As the day of the king’s visit approached, something occurred to one of the family leaders. It dawned on him his family wouldn’t be given any credit for the wine they brought (since the king wouldn’t specifically know where it came from). This bothered the man greatly and led him to think, “Why should we sacrifice for the king if the king couldn’t appreciate the sacrifice we made for him?” Without telling anyone what they were doing, this family decided to fill their container with water instead of wine. Since it looked just like wine, with no small amount of show, they poured it into the vat the village was using to mix the wine together. This family acted as though they had just made a huge sacrifice. Who would ever know? What difference can one little bit of water make to the taste of the final product?
On the day of the king’s visit, the town leaders went to great lengths to express to the king just how much they loved and valued him. They explained that to demonstrate their love for him they had all brought the best of the best of their wine. After mixing it together, this was their way to offering to the king the greatest sacrifice they were capable of making. The king was delighted by the gesture. He told them what an incredible honor this was and he would enjoy their wine for months to come. The leaders pleaded with him to have a taste of it right now, in their presence. He agreed and so they opened the vat a poured him a glass. As soon as he tasted it, he immediately spit it out! It was just water. Just plain old water.
You see, every family secretly did just as the one family had done. Each thought their ploy would go undetected. Each thought they were smarter than the rest. In the end, they totally dishonored their king as well as disgracing themselves. They performed an “anti-miracle.”
Water to wine, or wine to water? Which miracle are you about? Understand this, whatever you place in God’s hand increases-he is the master of making “much of little.” Keep everything to and about yourself and you will simply make “little of much.”
What would happen if everyone did just as you did?