23rd December 2022, 09:00, Lagos
I love a good wedding. It’s beautiful watching two people who are deeply in love make a commitment to build a life together for the rest of their lives. Scary, but beautiful nonetheless. However, I’ve planned a wedding before and I have to say it’s one of the most stressful events I’ve ever planned. As a member of the planning committee we all had mini-nightmares that food or drinks would run out so when I read the story of the Wedding at Cana I couldn’t help but empathise with the couple.
We know the famous story, the wine they had prepared for guests ran out and the servants approached Jesus’ mother – Mary, for her help. Mary being a homemaker herself understood the gravity of lack of wine. It will be embarrassing for the couple. This is their big day! They’re celebrating a special moment and wine was necessary for the guests to feel at home and enjoy the party. She decided to seek her son’s help and see if He could do anything to save the day. Her son (Jesus) steps aside to seek His Father’s will. This is because before He does anything He first consults with Him to understand if He’d like Him to do it. Abba (God the Father) gives His son the go ahead for Him to help the people.
As I read the story I found it interesting that the Father chose a wedding as the place for Jesus to perform His first miracle. It was wine, why was this important? I’m almost confident that a theologian will have a very deep meaning for the significance of wine, but I have a different and slightly ‘lighter’ angle. In life we all have numerous dreams and sometimes the truth is we may not be able to afford these dreams. In fact to comfort ourselves we may reduce these dreams and say these dreams are a ‘frivolous’ way to spend money. One could argue that more wine was a want not a need. I’m sure they could manage the embarrassment and just accept that the wine was finished. But hey! The Father saw it fit to do a miracle and still give them what they desired. This is my gentle way of saying sometimes what you call ‘unimportant’ might actually be important to God. Just because it’s not a dying need doesn’t mean He can’t give it to you. If you take that longing to Him even though it’s not do or die, He may be willing to give it to you. God cares about the big and small things.
Anyway, let’s get back to the story. For ease, I’m going to break down the story into sections and draw out key lessons.
- God usually starts with what we have
The servants had run out of wine but they had water. With that in mind Jesus proceeds to test their faith by asking them to fill water jars and bring it to Him. I can’t imagine the faces of the servants at the first instruction. Water? I would have replied “come again?”
2. Faith is mandatory for the miracle
We know the famous scripture that reads “without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6)”. I’m yet to find someone who relates with God and He hasn’t tested their faith. God’s love language is faith and obedience. For the miracle to occur they needed to move in faith and trust that God could in fact turn the water into wine. No faith, no miracle, no wine.
3. Be bold
When Jesus asked them to fill the jars, they filled it to the brim (John 2:7). This was bold and their way of ensuring they got as much as they could. They didn’t leave any room in the jar. They used all they had. It reminds me of the story of Rahab who negotiated with the spies. Rahab was audacious, she sought her safety and then negotiated for her entire family. She wasn’t conservative with her ask, she was bold and so were these servants. The bible says we should come boldly to His throne of Grace (Hebrews 4:16) so when you ask God for something, be bold!
4. You share in the work, you share in the blessing
We all have a part to play in our miracle, breakthrough and promotion. There’s a running theme between the transformation of wine and the multiplication of the bread and fishes (John 6). The wine was transformed while they walked towards the master with this ‘water’ in hand (John 2:8). Similarly, the bread and fish were transformed as they distributed it (John 6:11). This shows a combination of faith and movement is necessary for the miracle. I personally don’t believe that someone doesn’t have to do anything at all to take hold of the promotion or breakthrough that God has promised them. I’m not advocating for toiling, certainly not, however, I do believe we have our part to play because getting a breakthrough usually takes several ‘little steps’ to arrive at the miracle we so badly desire.
5. God does NOT give us leftovers or scraps
When I read John 2:10 which reads
And he said to him, “Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!”
I laugh! It makes me think about how real goodness occurs when God blesses a person. The master thought he had tasted wine. He probably had a “been there, done that” attitude. However, Jesus’ wine was different. God gave them the best wine they had ever tasted.
We all grow up with our own unique life experiences. Sometimes as kids we may let certain harmful seeds grow in our minds that can affect what we believe is possible or achievable for us. For example, let’s say you admired something expensive when growing up, but you never thought you’d be able to get it so you stopped dreaming and reduced your expectations. You thought it’s better to aim for something cheaper because your dream will never happen anyway. Maybe you want a bespoke dress for your wedding but because you don’t have the money yet or you believe “people like you” don’t get bespoke things, you reduce your expectations. Such thinking patterns can also happen in our walk of faith. In this scene we see that when God blesses, He gives them the best and beats their expectations.
6. God is a God of abundance
I have a secret I want to share with you today: God is not broke. Repeat it please. God-is-not-broke. Whenever God blesses a man, He does so abundantly. He is a God of exceedingly, abundantly (Ephesians 3:20). In this story, He’s no different. Theologians argue that He ensured that the wine was more than enough so the newlyweds could sell the excess wine, pay off any debts incurred during the planning of the wedding, and still have enough money to start their lives. I remember reading this and getting emotional. What a sweet and loving Father. In a similar manner trust that He will bless you abundantly. We serve a God of abundance.
So I’ve touched on a lot in this story. We’ve covered miracles, moving in faith, leaning on God for provision, daring to believe the impossible and so much more. I wrote this to encourage and remind someone that we serve a good God who is faithful. Dare to dream and ask for His blessings even with the things that seem ‘unimportant’. As we go through life we ought to be bold and ask for all we desire. I can’t remember the exact figures but I remember Joyce Myer saying she’d rather ask God for 1,000 and get 500 than ask for 100 and get 100. I absolutely agree! Lastly, please don’t forget that God starts with what you have. As you move in faith with what you have, trust that God will come through for you.
I hope this encourages you to keep trusting Him.
All my love,