You’re probably familiar with John 6: 5-15 .It’s the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000. A large crowd had gathered around Jesus to hear him teach. Knowing they were hungry, Jesus asked Philip “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” He was only testing Philip, because he knew how he would feed this crowd.
Philip seems dismayed at the proposition of feeding all those people, reminding Jesus that it would take more than a year’s wages to feed them all.
Next we see Andrew, who has found a small boy with a lunch box. He tells Jesus and the disciples about the boy, but questions the value of such a small amount of food saying “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”
Jesus, undaunted by the smallness of the gift, used those five small loaves and two fishes to feed a crowd of over 5,000 people. Five. Thousand. People.This is truly a story of God’s dominion over all things (even bread) and his love for all people. But, if we look closely, it’s also a story how God uses our small offerings to do His mighty work.
Jesus performed a miracle that day. I’m sure he could have fed those people with no help from the boy and his lunch. But, since he chose to use the boys lunch, I wonder if there are lessons to be learned in that. I believe it goes deeper than learning to trust that Jesus will meet out needs. What can I learn from this boy about offering my gift to Jesus?
Here are some things that I see:
The boy in the story had to have some level of belief that Jesus could make use of his offering. He could have stayed obscured in the crowd, believing that what he had was so small and insignificant that it couldn’t possibly be of use to Jesus.
He couldn’t be concerned with what the people around him would say. Would they scoff, saying his gift was useless? Maybe they would say he didn’t even belong there.
He couldn’t wait until his gift was bigger. Jesus was in a position of using his offering now. And, besides that, when would this boy ever have more than what he had that day?
He had to let go of any concern of how he would get along without his lunch. And in so doing, he found out that when you give your little gift to God, he multiplies it, and gives it back.
He had to be aware of what he had. He knew what was in his lunch box. Or maybe he actually had to look. Either way, he had to find out what he had to offer. We may have to do the same. If you don’t know what you’ve been blessed with, how will you offer it back to God?
Too many people are looking for a big job from God, or waiting until they have a significant gift, like a lot of money, or a huge ministry. God doesn’t want to wait for our big gifts. He wants us to give what we have, knowing that the power of that gift is not in the gift itself but in the God who receives it. When we give the gift, God will give the increase.
Like I said, I’m sure Jesus could have fed that crowd with no help whatsoever from the boy. I wonder why he “accepted” the boy’s small gift instead of just doing a miracle without it. Maybe Jesus wanted to paint a clear picture of what he can do when we just give him the small gifts that we have.
Several months ago a friend of mine posted an announcement on Facebook. A friend of hers, who I didn’t know, had been in a serious car accident and she and her daughter were both hurt. They needed financial help to cover the hospital bills. My friend made a point that moved me to action where I might not have otherwise moved. She reminded us that if we give our loaves and fishes, God would multiply our gifts into so much more than we could ever give.
My first thought when met with the opportunity was “I don’t have enough to make a difference.” But when my friend reminded me of the truth, I knew that God expects me to give what I have and not be concerned about whether or not it’s “enough”.
I want to encourage you, along with myself, to learn from this boy, and offer your small gifts to God.
Don’t wait until your gift is bigger, or better. Give what you have today.
Don’t worry about what others will say or think.
Don’t compare your gift with someone else’s gift.
Don’t worry about how you’ll get along once you give your gift away.
Don’t underestimate Jesus’ ability to add increase to your small gift.
Be aware of your gifts; your spiritual gifts, your talents, your physical blessings, etc.
Be watchful of opportunities to step up and offer your 5 small loaves.
What do you have that Jesus can use to “feed” his people?
The question isn’t what will you have next year, when you have a better job, more time, more training, less stress, better health, or more Bible knowledge. The question is what do you have today. Right here. Right now.
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