"When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
Now when it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, 'This is a desolate place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves.'
But Jesus said, 'They need not go away; you give them something to eat.'
They said to him, 'We have only five loaves here and two fish.'
And he said, 'Bring them here to me.'
Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds.
And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces left over. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children."
Matthew 14:14-21, ESV (emphasis, mine)
The older (and wiser) I get, the more I realize how little I have to give God.
I used to lay out before Him my talents, my strengths, my knowledge, holding them up one by one, like a little girl with a collection of plastic pearls. "Look what I can do for you, God!"
I thought they were of great value...
But now all I tend to see is the great need of the world, and my own lack to give.
The disciples, too, had a lack. They found themselves in a "desolate" place, surrounded by a stadium's worth of men, women and children who would soon need something to eat.
They opened their lunch boxes and did the math: 5 loaves and 2 fishes. Their stomachs rumbled. Half a loaf for Jesus, half a loaf for Simon, half a loaf for Matthew...
It didn't take long for the disciples to decide it would be wise to have Jesus to send the people elsewhere.
We don't have enough here.
Jesus' response was ridiculous, "They don't need to go away- you feed them!"
"Jesus, did you hear us right? We only have FIVE loaves and TWO fishes."
"Bring them here to me," Jesus urged, a wry smile spreading over His bearded face.
What must the disciples have thought?
Well, it looks like we'll all be fasting.
But then Jesus does something amazing. He takes the little bit they had- those simple, unimpressive five loves and two fishes, and He blesses them. He breaks the bread and hands it back to the twelve to be passed out.
Now, I don't know how long it takes to distribute food to 5,000+ people, but at some point, the disciples must have come to the realization that they had witnessed a monster-sized miracle.
What's more, not only did the entire crowd of 5,000 men (and who knows how many women and children) get to eat, but the disciples didn't have to fast after all: "All were satisfied".
Being a small group leader, I am often burdened of the needs of those God has placed around me. It can feel like a desolate place. After taking inventory of my own limitations I confront God, "God, there's not enough here for what you're needing."
The disciples couldn't meet the need of the crowds, and I can't either...
But Jesus just asks for me "little bit"--
My little bit of money.
My little bit of encouragement.
My little bit of time to stop and talk to somebody.
My little bit of courage to do something brave.
"But God, it's just a little bit- surely You can't use that."
"But God, how many people can that really help?"
Yes, without Him my talents, strengths and knowledge seem oh-so-small for God to do anything with. "Only five loaves and two fish". Limited.
If I choose to hold them in doubt, fear or selfishness they will only satisfy me. Limited.
But when I place them in His hands--surrendering my wants, my doubts, my fears-- it is then that He is able to bless them, break them, and use them to satisfy the hunger of others. Unlimited.
God wants to take the lid off my life.
And all He asked is that I live open-handed, giving Him the little bit I have, in holy surrender, and leave the results up to Him.
Dwelling in Him,
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A little about me...
Hi, I'm Katie!
Wife to Craig, mom of three, author, writer, Rooted Moms founder, Jesus-follower, Bible teacher, and coffee enthusiast.
Follow me as I follow Christ and share my heart throughout the journey.