Thursday, February 10, 2011

Loaves and Fishes

"And he said to them, "How many loaves do you have? Go and see." And when they had found out, they said, "Five, and two fish." " - Mark 6:38

God never ceases to amaze me with how He can take something insignificant or small in our eyes, and use it for His glory.

Take this story from the Gospel of Mark, for instance. Jesus and the disciples had been very busy. They had already spent the day with the crowd, teaching and Jesus had been preaching all day. In addition, Jesus was just about emotionally spent, too. He had found out about his dear friend, Lazarus' death, as well.

The crowd was tired, had traveled a long way and they were hungry. There was no place to buy food nearby... Then came the disciples' asking of Jesus, "Can you send them away??"

You know the story.... Jesus told the disciples that they should find them something to eat... and all they came up with was a little boy's lunch. I can only imagine the conversation:

Disciple A: "Hey, Jesus... This all we found."
Disciple B: "Looks like it's leftovers from yesterday's Fred Lobster meal. Just a handful of cheese biscuits and a couple of fishsticks. Can't feed this crowd with that!"
The rest of the disciples: "Nope. Not THIS crowd! Send them away, would ya, Jesus????"

Jesus looks into the little boy's lunch sack, pulls out one of the cheese biscuits, breaks it, asks God to use it and then does the same with the fish. God multiplied the small gift that the little boy brought that day... and fed thousands of people with it! The Bible says that there was enough to feed everybody there, and still had twelve baskets of food leftover!

There are several messages in this passage to us:

The first message here is that nothing small we offer to God ever goes unnoticed.... a hug, a word of encouragement, a thank you, a kind gesture... giving a cold cup of water in Christ's name. He can use even the smallest of things to bless many. Often we are quick to give God the bigger things... or the religious things... or certain things that we think would be pleasing to Him in some way. And in truth, it's the smaller things -- the ones that we think are insignificant that God uses the most.

The second thing that we can take from this lesson is this -- The multiplication process comes from God, not the gift or from us. The leftover kids' meal was just a kids' meal until God got ahold of it. :) No matter how hard we try, we cannot make that happen, but God can!

The third lesson we can take from this is that once we place that in His hands and let Him do with it as He pleases, He is able to do great things. The Bible doesn't say whether the little boy offered the lunch to the disciples or whether the disciples just took it. But in either case, it landed in the hands of the disciples, who then took it to Jesus. Anyway you slice it, that required some trust and obedience on the part of that child.... God saw the little boy's faith, trust and obedience and He blessed the small gift and fed several thousand.

The fourth lesson we can take from this is that we don't know one thing about the little boy outside of this story. It would have been easy for folks around the little boy to congratulate him and tossle his hair.... and call him the hero for offering his lunch. But Jesus was the REAL star here... It wasn't about the lunch or the little boy.... It was about Jesus!

So, I just wanna ask... Whatcha got in your lunch sack today to offer to Jesus??? What do you hold in your own hands that can be offered back to Christ and used to bless others??? Are you giving Him just the big stuff??? The religious stuff??? Or are you offering Him everything???? Are you doing this freely, with His kingdom purposes in mind?? Are you quick to brag on God for what HE has done??? Or, do you simply try to take credit for something you have offered to Him???

Abba Father... Daddy... We desire never to withhold anything from you.... not the smallest of gifts... not our money... not our time... not our efforts... not our attitudes...not our motives... not our jobs... families... health or anything else... our loaves and fishes. We give it all for Your kingdom's sake, with Your purposes in mind, and for Your Glory. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.