5 loaves and 2 fish
A year ago, I was on the shores of sea of the Galilee. It was a surreal experience. After spending a half day at the shore, we explored the nearby hills. It brought to mind all my favorite Bible stories of the lessons Jesus taught his followers on the hills. One of my favorites comes from Matthew chapter 14.
Maybe you remember – feeding 5000+ on the hills. A miraculous success – one for the record books. I think there’s potentially more to the story, and a couple things the story can teach us today. In fact, I’m convinced it can teach us a whole lot about missions.
Matthew 14, Verse 13 – 16:
13 When Jesus heard what had happened (the death of John the Baptist), he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. 14 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
15 As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.”
16 Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”
Maybe you’re like me, and when you look at the needs of those around you, including your global neighbors, it’s a bit too easy to conclude the same thing the disciples did… “It’s not my problem”. We can insulate ourselves from the needs of the world so easily today.
We say “it’s not my problem.” Jesus says ‘Yes, it is”.
Jesus expands our burden for others.
“17 “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered.
18“Bring them here to me,” he said. 19 And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. 20 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 21 The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.”
When looking at the needs of those around me, I easily conclude “I don’t have what it takes to solve this problem”.
We say “I don’t have what it takes.” Jesus says “Offer what you have”.
Jesus multiplies what we offer.
Whatever it is that you have. Skills, passions, the things you don’t think are related to mission, your finances, your gifts – bring it all. It’s amazing how often people come up to me and when making a financial gift, every single person says the same thing “this isn’t much”. Regardless of the amount, they all say the exact same thing “It’s not much.”
Here’s the thing – in our eyes it never seems like enough. But, don’t let that be a hurdle. We can learn a lot from the woman who brought two pennies to the offering plate. It’s not the size of your investment – it’s your willingness to offer it. Bring what you have and watch what God does.
What’s your 5 loaves and 2 fish?
Here’s the thing. What we offer, Jesus gives back to us. He does so because our actions matter. He could have distributed the meal all by himself. But instead, He gave what was offered back to the disciples so they could carry His provision to the masses. Nobody sits on the sidelines of God’s mission.
Allow Jesus to burden your heart for those in need.
Allow Jesus to multiply what you offer.
Gladly accept His invitation to join in the distribution of His blessing to the masses. You’ll be glad you did!