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The Disciple and the Multiplying Power of God

Discipled to Disciple

And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted. - John 6:11

The feeding of the 5,000 is the only miracle recorded in all four gospels. Each includes unique details. I like the account in John particularly because it alone includes the account of the young boy’s lunch as the source of the loves and fish. I can picture this child moved by the words of the Savior wanting to give what He had to the Lord, maybe as a child not even thinking of the seemingly insignificant size of the gift in the face of the great need.

As it turned out that small donation was the “raw material” Jesus used to feed the five thousand along with their families. What a reminder this is of the truth that God does not put stock in the size of the gift bur considers, rather, the willing heart and personal sacrifice involved. If He can take a boys luch and multiply it to feed a multitude, He can do the same with what ever we turn over to Him. On the other hand, when we underestimate the value of our contribution, and withhold even the things we consider inadequate, the multiplication God intends may not happen.

In Mark’s account we find the disciples urging Jesus to send the people away so they could go into the surrounding villages and buy food for themselves. Jesus responded “You give them something to eat.” He even asked Phillip where they could buy bread to feed them. Put yourself in the place of a disciple at that point. You have no food, little money and the task given by the Lord of feeding a huge multitude. No doubt you (and I) would offer the same response Phillip gave: “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little” (John 6:7). Like Phillip we would consider our resources and conclude “there is no way! We don’t have anywhere near the resources to even come close to meeting this need.” And behind it all may be the question, “Lord You know this, why did you ask in the first place?”

Jesus responded to His disciples’ doubt with a questions: “How many loaves do you have? All they had was the five loaves and two fish of the little boys lunch. Peter commented “but what good are these for so many people?” Matthew’s account contains my favorite phrase in the whole story, Jesus said: “Bring them here to me” (Matt 14:18). With that statement Jesus taught a timeless truth: Don’t consider the limitations of your resources; don’t consider the greatness of the need, consider the greatness of your God and give what you have to Him. Then watch what He does with it.

Of course we know what He did. He took the little lunch, blessed it, broke the loaves and fish, multiplying them to the extent that the entire crowd was well fed and twelve baskets of scraps were picked up. What an amazing miracle! But we must remember it began with the giving heart of a small boy nad the obedience of the disciples who may have been tempted to satisfy their own hunger with the few morsels they had.

How many times in history have God’s people given what little they had to Him, maybe even doubting that it could make much of a difference only to be amazed by His miraculous power as He multiplied the meager gifts and accomplished amazing things. What need is god prompting you to meet that far exceeds the resources you have? What is God asking from you that He can multiply through His miracle working power so that the multitudes in your life may see Him for who He really is?

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