Mark 6:38-44 KJV 38 He saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? Go and see. And when they knew, they said, five, and two fishes. 39 And He commanded them to make all sit down by companies upon the green grass. 40 And they sat down in ranks, by hundreds, and by fifties. 41 And when He had taken the five loaves and the two fishes, He looked up to heaven, and blessed, and brake the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before them; and the two fishes divided He among them all. 42 And they did all eat, and were filled. 43 And they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments, and of the fishes. 44 And they that did eat of the loaves were about five thousand men.
Jesus fed five thousand men, their wives and their children with only five loaves of bread and two fish and had twelve baskets full of leftovers; and what He had leftover was more than the amount He started with. If each man had a wife and they had two children each (which would be a very small family for those days) that would equal 20,000 people.
As I read this, verse 41 emphatically stood out to me. First, Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, He looked up to heaven, He blessed the food, He broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to distribute, and then He took the fish and divided them between all the people.
- First of all Jesus surveyed what He had to work with. He found that it was a very small amount considering what was needed to feed a crowd of that size. But not to worry, it was in the hands of the Miracle Maker. It does not matter how much or how little we have to offer in the Lord’s work (actually, I believe that He prefers that we have ‘little to offer’ – that way all doubts are doused that the extraordinary outcome is anything but divine).
So, never think that you or your talents, gifts, etc. are insufficient for kingdom use. It does not matter how meager or how inadequate we feel our talents or gifts are, when we place them in Jesus’ hands, they become more than enough. When we are willing to use what we have and hand our fledgling abilities and insufficiencies over to Him, He can work amazing things through us.
It is not about what ‘we’ can do, it’s about what ‘He’ can do through us. The disciples could not do one thing to increase those five loaves and two fish and we cannot bring the increase in our lives either. Give what you have to give, do what you can do, but leave the increase to Jesus.
For instance, if you have a gift of “speaking”, you can use that gift to glorify the Lord, but even though you possess that gift, it is not sufficient until you place the productivity and the fruitfulness of it in His care.
You can utilize your talent, but you can’t do the miraculous – and you may be very talented, but until the Master gets involved, it will fall fruitlessly by the wayside. There can be no real success without His intervention and blessing (we will talk more about this).
- Secondly, Jesus looked up to heaven. We must know where our blessings come from. They are not ours – He has provided them. We each have a special ability or gifting to use for His glory. This is His plan to give our lives meaning and purpose.
We all need a reason to get out of bed each morning, if not, life becomes dull and unfulfilling. I believe that each of us has a desire to feel that we can make a difference in this world. In order to do that we must look to heaven and know that our Father has placed us here for a reason – and then to believe that He will guide us in each step of our journey, enabling us to complete our divinely appointed assignment.
- Thirdly, Jesus blessed what was offered. When we offer Him what we have (money, an ability or gifting, etc.) for His use (to benefit others), He blesses it. This is the process by which our gifts are multiplied. They are what they are (five loaves and two fish – not sufficient) as long as they remain in our hands. But when we use them for His purposes, He places His blessing on our efforts and that’s when the miracles begin to happen.
When we place our little in His hands, it becomes much – it grows and multiplies to touch the masses – it suddenly becomes more than we ever hoped or dreamed it could be. In the Master’s care, our ordinary lives become exciting and new. We will leap out of bed with an “I-can’t-wait-to-see-what-God’s-gonna-do-today” attitude each morning. Life is transformed from mundane to miraculous when we place our little in His hands for the blessing.
- He broke the loaves and divided the fish. When we truly give our lives to Jesus to be used for His purposes, we may find that He often starts with brokenness before we see the multiplying and the miracles begin.
He had to break the bread before He could use it. Unfortunately, that may be true of us as well. We must learn to trust Him during this breaking period – He’s doing a work in us, but if we get discouraged and give up, His work can never come to fruition.
The key at this point in the process is to rest in His hands and allow Him to break and tear away all that would hinder our usefulness for His kingdom. This is the place where many fail through disillusionment and lost hope. Fight through this trying time and believe that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it (Phil. 1:6).
Remember, the breaking took place before the miracle. Don’t give up on Jesus just before He performs His greatest work in your life. There is a multitude out there who needs what you have to offer.
So, you are still not convinced that you can make much of a difference – you may not see how you can help a multitude. It’s okay, start with one. Jesus gave to one, then another, then another and each time He handed one a piece of bread and fish the multiplication was taking place.
Reach out to one person at a time; it’s like throwing a stone into a pond, the ripples move ever outward. You can never know how many lives Jesus (the Master Multiplier) will touch through an act of kindness that began with you.
You have something that someone else needs today. In verse 38, Jesus asked the disciples what they had to give. He could have made bread from the stones on the ground; He could have called fish down from Heaven. He didn’t need anything from them. He could have fed that multitude all by Himself. Why does He want to partner with and involve us in helping others – I think it’s because He is aware that few things bring more joy than knowing that we have made a difference in someone’s life. So, as you give, His work is two-fold: He’s meeting kingdom needs and increasing and multiplying your own joy.
And notice in verse 43 that He did not waste one crumb – they picked up twelve baskets full of leftovers. As you give your little, He is also providing for the future. He took what the disciples had (which wasn’t enough), used it to help others, then added to it, doubled it, increased it multiple times, and they all received back so much more than they brought. The disciples (twelve of them) had given what they had. The number of brimming baskets of leftovers they collected totaled twelve. I don’t think that was a coincidence – they each went home with an arm load (and a heart full) of blessings.
Copyright © 2017 Sandra J. Briggs