Loaves & Fish
I was just thinking about the little boy who brought Jesus five barley loaves and two fish (yes, it is because I just watched The Chosen, Season 3, Episode 8), and tears sprang to my eyes as I considered the message behind that true event. The truth slammed into my soul as if the Lord were using audible words, and I was overwhelmed by His grace. Here is what the book of John says…
“After this, Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee (or Sea of Tiberias). A large crowd was following Him because they had seen the signs (attesting miracles) which He continually performed on those who were sick. And Jesus went up on the mountainside and sat down there with His disciples. Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was approaching. Jesus looked up and saw that a large crowd was coming toward Him, and He said to Philip, “Where will we buy bread for these people to eat?” But He said this to test Philip, because He knew what He was about to do. Philip answered, “Two hundred denarii (200 days’ wages) worth of bread is not enough for each one to receive even a little.” One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Him, “There is a little boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what are these for so many people?” Jesus said, “Have the people sit down [to eat].” Now [the ground] there was [covered with] an abundance of grass, so the men sat down, about 5,000 in number. Then Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks, He distributed them to those who were seated; the same also with the fish, as much as they wanted. When they had eaten enough, He said to His disciples, “Gather up the leftover pieces so that nothing will be lost.” So they gathered them up, and they filled twelve large baskets with pieces from the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten. When the people saw the sign (attesting miracle) that He had done, they began saying, “This is without a doubt the promised Prophet who is to come into the world!”
John 6:1-14 AMP
My heart feels the impact of this story. Here was a little boy who offered up his lunch to Jesus. He offered what he had, with joy and faith. This little boy didn’t say, “What I have is not enough, so what’s the point of even offering it?” Instead, he presented what He had, and trusted Messiah to use it. Then Jesus multiplied this humble gift to bless others and advance His Kingdom. That little boy had the joy of watching Jesus use his small gift in a miraculous way.
Sometimes I am tempted to think to myself, “What I have to offer is not enough.” And this is exactly what Satan wants me to think, you know, because Satan wants me to quit, to be useless, to live in a spirit of failure. When I am tempted to sink into that ungodly thought and let it consume me, that is when I am pressed to wield the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17, Hebrews 4:12). I have to capture that thought (2 Corinthians 10:5), and remember that all my gifts come from God, so what right have I to feel ashamed and ungrateful about the measure of my giftings (1 Corinthians 4:7, John 3:27)?
Every day, I get to watch the Lord take my modest five loaves of bread and two fish, and multiply them for His glory. I get to watch Him use my broken life. He has not allowed me to squander my gifts in an effort for worldly gain and approval, but has given me just the proportion of talent I needed so that He could position me exactly where He wants me to serve. Now He blesses my modest daily offering, and I can finally look back and see that during those times when I had no idea what He was doing, and when I felt like I was failing at life and absolutely nothing made sense, God was strengthening, teaching, and sanctifying me for His ministry (Psalm 138:8). That wilderness was training ground (James 1:2-4). He was preparing me for His work. He knew my destination (Jeremiah 29:11).
To my university students, I would like to offer this humble encouragement: always remember that our gifts are not our own. Let’s offer them up to the Lord every day the best we can, and let Him multiply those gifts for His Kingdom and glory.
Soli Deo Gloria.
Ephesians 6:17 “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.”
Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
1 Corinthians 4:7 “For who regards you as superior or what sets you apart as special? What do you have that you did not receive [from another]? And if in fact you received it [from God or someone else], why do you boast as if you had not received it [but had gained it by yourself]?”
John 3:27 “John replied, “A man can receive nothing [he can claim nothing at all] unless it has been granted to him from heaven [for there is no other source than the sovereign will of God].”
Psalm 138:8 “The Lord will accomplish that which concerns me; Your [unwavering] lovingkindness, O Lord, endures forever— Do not abandon the works of Your own hands.”
James 1:2-4 “Consider it nothing but joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you fall into various trials. Be assured that the testing of your faith [through experience] produces endurance [leading to spiritual maturity, and inner peace]. And let endurance have its perfect result and do a thorough work, so that you may be perfect and completely developed [in your faith], lacking in nothing.”
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
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