The crowd was hungry and the guys in front of the crowd were getting anxious. “How are we going to take care of a crowd this large?” they asked themselves. “Where could we possibly get enough food?” Making matters more complicated was that the leader, Jesus, seemed insistent that it was possible to satisfy the mass of people. They did not need to go anywhere to look for their supper. “We can do this,” was the tone that Jesus set.
And it was about that moment that Andrew—who always was caught taking people to Jesus—introduced to Jesus a small boy with a tiny lunch. “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish” (John 6:9). With that all eyes fell downward to the child.
But meager was the meal he offered. The bread in the little boy’s hands was a small flatbread made of barley; recognized as the bread of the poorest people; likely coarse and generally unappetizing to the more discriminating taste. The fish were also very small, likely salty, and would be eaten bones and all, an indication of their minute size and purpose. Generally fish like this served as a garnish or spread for the flatbread. The meal that the little boy had in his hands was the tiniest lunch even for himself. Meager overstated the provision.
Yet the Lord took it anyway, and, as the story unfolds in John 6:10 and following, an amazing thing happened. He multiplied the meager provision beyond sufficiency. Not only was the large crowd of five thousand men and many thousands of women and children fed, but there was much left over (see John 6:13).
Which brings me to my burden. I am that little boy, and my fish and bread are my meager gifts, spiritual gifts, talents, passions, and so forth. In my hands they are important, indeed vital, regardless of how profoundly insufficient they really are in the big scheme of things. With them I might be able to satisfy myself—maybe. They are generally coarse and tiny, the poorest things of this poor soul. Perhaps I dream of utilizing them all by myself in ways that feed multitudes.
But I simply cannot do it. Not alone. Not without intervention.
I must have another multiply my meager things, and the one to do so is Jesus.
When I place my meager things—my gifts and my passions and my talents and my experiences, and so forth—into his hands, then great things can happen. When he is given authority and charge over my stuff, special and even wondrous things can unfold. Jesus is more than able to take my meager things and do miracles with them. But for him to do such, I must give them over.
What have you been waiting on God to do in your life and the world in which you live? What do you need to surrender to him for that to happen? The more I reflect on this little boy that Andrew brought before the Master, the more I desire to simply be him—small and insignificant, and more than willing to offer up my meager things for the hands of Jesus to multiply for a cause far bigger than I can appreciate.
What about you?
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“Write This Down…” provides a restatement of selected points or observations from various teaching venues at which Pastor Matthew speaks. The preceding material is from Pastor Matthew’s message entitled, “Handing Over My Meager Stuff,” presented at the Fargo-Moorhead PowerLunch on April 12, 2012, at Bethel Church.