Don't Have Much
By Executive Presbyter/Region 1 Joel Wendland
November 1, 2019
Don’t have much…
As a pastor, I tend to have a lot of favorite Scripture passages. (Maybe I’m not the only one!) One of my favorite stories in the New Testament has the distinction of being the only story repeated in all four gospels. It is the story of the feeding of the five thousand.
John 6:5 Jesus soon saw a huge crowd of people coming to look for him. Turning to Philip, he asked, “Where can we buy bread to feed all these people?” 6 He was testing Philip, for he already knew what he was going to do. NLT
Jesus sees needs long before anybody else does. What I love about this passage is not only does he anticipate people’s needs, but He also has a plan to meet them. What’s interesting is that He didn’t bother to share that information with Phillip. Phillip was asked, “What should we do?” Phillip did what most of us would do…he looked at what it would materially take to meet that need. Four months of work wouldn’t produce enough money to even feed people a mouthful. How often do we fail to see what Jesus can do, and only see what we can do? He can do so much more than we can, if we choose to trust in Him!
John 6:8 Then Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up. 9 “There’s a young boy here with five barley loaves and two fish. But what good is that with this huge crowd?” NLT
Whenever Andrew is mentioned, he usually is bringing someone to Jesus. In John 1, he brought his brother Peter to Jesus. In John 12, he is bringing Greeks to Jesus. Here in this story, he is instrumental in bringing a young boy to Jesus.
I want you to think about how Andrew chooses to describe what this young boy brought to Jesus. He noted that the loaves of bread were barley loaves. Barley was the grain choice of the poor and needy. Barley was the cheap bread. In today’s terms, it would be generic white bread. This is the kind of bread that you buy from the day old bread outlet stores. It is not that desirable. In the New King James Version, the fish are further described as two small fish. Everything about this offering was minimized by the people around this boy who offered it. He was essentially told that his offering was menial, had little value, and ultimately would not be impactful. Do we discourage people who would give of their time, talents and abilities because we undervalue what they have to offer?
This boy did not intend to feed 5000 with what he had, so why did he bring it to Jesus? I really feel that the offering wasn’t intended for everyone’s benefit, but it was only for Jesus. This young boy had been touched by the ministry of Jesus and was willing to give what He had out of love for Him. He wanted to feed Jesus. When we give out of sincere gratitude to the Lord for
what He has done for our lives, what awesome things can God do! He can take our menial, little valued, and non-impactful offering and He can do amazing things with it. The difference is the blessing of Jesus.
It’s not the quality of what you have, but rather the heart with which you give, that God can truly use. He sees your need and already has a plan to meet it. Sure, your best efforts to meet the need probably will fall short, but what if you just choose to give the Lord what you have? What can He do with that?