MacGvyer Moments

Richard Dean Anderson stars as as title character in the TV series, MacGvyer
Richard Dean Anderson stars as as title character in the TV series, MacGvyer

There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many? – John 6:9 (KJV)

Anyone who uses Facebook or other social media on even a semi-regular basis is familiar with the term, “Throwback Thursday” or “TBT” for short.  It refers to the practice of posting a picture of you online from a bygone era.  Additionally, it is common practice to see posts of pictures of past pop culture references.  Pictures of Jiffy Pop popcorn, Atari 2600 game systems and cellphones the size of bricks are posted with captions underneath them reading, “do you remember these?”

In the spirit of TBT and “do you remember these” posts I would like to venture back in time a bit to the late 1980s and early 1990s when a television show called “MacGvyer” was popular.  The show was named after its main character, Angus MacGvyer, played by Richard Dean Anderson.  MacGvyer worked as a troubleshooter for a fictional United States government agency, the Department of External Services (DXS).  He was formally educated as a scientist and served as a bomb team technician during the Vietnam War.  He was extremely resourceful, able to solve complex problem and escape from harrowing circumstances with everyday material he found at hand.  He always seemed to be able to prevent the impending bomb from detonating with seconds to spare using just a paperclip, duct tape and a Swiss Army knife.

MacGvyer achieved the ultimate in pop culture notoriety being spoofed on Saturday Night Live.   Instead of being named “MacGvyer” the SNL character was named “MacGruber.”  Unlike MacGvyer’s heroics, MacGruber always seemed to flub things up so that instead of preventing the bomb from detonating, he hastened it.

All four of the Gospels recount a time when the disciples found themselves in a MacGvyer moment.  Jesus’ renowned as a miracle worker had spread.  On one occasion he attracted large crowds who followed him to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee.  Jesus seeing the large crowd approaching asked one of his disciples, Phillip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” (John 6:5 – NIV).  This was a MacGvyer moment, but to Phillip the answer to the question was the name of another television series – Mission Impossible.  Philip answered him [Jesus], “Eight months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” (John 6:7 – NIV).  Another of the disciples, Andrew, surveying the situation took a page out of the MacGvyer field manual, but his answer to Jesus also revealed his skepticism, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”(John 6:9 – NIV).

Jesus’ took the boy’s meal, prayed over it and then the miraculous occurred.  The food was multiplied to such a great extent that the 5,000 people who were gathered were fed and there were leftovers (John 6:11-15).

From time to time we will encounter MacGvyer moments in life, with resources and answers apparently in short supply.   I say “apparently” because God has promised to supply all your needs according to his riches in glory (Phil. 4:19).  God does not allow us to be placed in situations for which he does not already know the answer or the outcome. We may not know in that moment, but we can take comfort in the fact that God knows.  When Jesus asked Phillip were they’d find food to feed the large crowd, John 6:6 tells us, He [Jesus] asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.

Remember life’s MacGvyer moments do not have to turn into Mission Impossible but can rather become Good Times when we place our trust and confidence in Jesus Christ.

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