BRING WHAT YOU HAVE
Heavenly Father, let me be mindful of both the physical and spiritual needs of others as I reach out in your name.
Read LUKE 9:10-17
Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand
10 When the apostles returned, they reported to Jesus what they had done. Then he took them with him and they withdrew by themselves to a town called Bethsaida, 11 but the crowds learned about it and followed him. He welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed healing.
12 Late in the afternoon the Twelve came to him and said, “Send the crowd away so they can go to the surrounding villages and countryside and find food and lodging, because we are in a remote place here.”
13 He replied, “You give them something to eat.”
They answered, “We have only five loaves of bread and two fish—unless we go and buy food for all this crowd.” 14 (About five thousand men were there.)
But he said to his disciples, “Have them sit down in groups of about fifty each.” 15 The disciples did so, and everyone sat down. 16 Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke them. Then he gave them to the disciples to distribute to the people. 17 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory’.1
The feeding of the five thousand is a familiar story – with a profound spiritual truth. Jesus is clearly concerned with the people’s physical needs as well as their spiritual needs and he does not ignore the fact that the people are growing hungry. He could send them away to find food elsewhere, but instead he tells his disciples, ‘You give them something to eat’ (v 13). Their response focuses on their lack of food. Their measly five loaves of bread and two fish are nowhere near enough to feed this crowd of five thousand men (and presumably many more, with women and children).
With Jesus, however, the little that we have is more than enough. He takes this rather measly offering and prayerfully breaks the bread and fish while looking up to heaven in thanks to God. Then he returns them to the disciples to distribute to the people. Incredibly, everyone eats and is satisfied, leaving the disciples to collect 12 basketfuls of leftover food, much more than they originally had. The disciples’ lack turns into overwhelming abundance.
I often feel God’s calling is well beyond me, but this story is about Jesus’ ability to multiply the little that we can offer. He calls us to the impossible, to accomplish far more than we ever could on our own. If we’re not living for something impossibly beyond our own ability, our vision is too small. Like the disciples, our only response is to bring what we have – the simple gifts, experiences, personality traits and faith that we have. In Jesus’ hands, these things, inadequate as they may seem, are multiplied exponentially. The abundance left after this great feast speaks of his ability to do above and beyond all we could ask or imagine.
If you feel overwhelmed by God’s call on your life, decide today to bring just what you have. Watch him multiply it to feed the multitudes.
I am thankful for your Word and for its instruction; make my heart both teachable and obedient, Lord God.
1 Eph 3: 20,21
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