Our Bible study group pondered over one of the miracles of Jesus the other night. It’s a passage in Matthew 15 that describes how the crowds followed Jesus to a remote area, bringing the lame and blind and demon possessed before Him. And he heals them – thousands of them. Then the passage says that he had compassion on the people because they had not eaten for three days. So He told His disciples to find food for them. Food for 4,000 people. In the middle of nowhere. No restaurants nearby, no caterers ready and willing to serve, not even a village where they could get a few vegetables and bread.
Of course the disciples are nonplussed. They tell Jesus what He already knows. They don’t have the means to feed so many. Then He asks them a simple question. “How many loaves do you have?” (Matthew 15:34) We can imagine the disciples showing him the seven loaves and the few small fish. Then Jesus tells them to have the crowd sit down. I wonder what they thought then. Did they think there was going to be a riot if they did not provide food for so many? Did they think Jesus was foolhardy to make it seem that they could? Why was he expecting so much of them?
The miracle that occurs then showed them, and us, that he was not foolhardy. Neither was he expecting too much of them. He knew exactly what they had and what they were capable of. But this was the God of the universe, the one who created those few loaves and fish. The miracle that occurs then showed them, and us, that even a small offering was enough, when it was put into the hands of a mighty God.
When I published my first devotional book, Spur of the Moment, I thought it would be a very small local effort. I was nervous about ordering 500 copies and I was amazed when they sold out quite quickly. I was even more amazed when I saw that little book travel to some very far away places – places like India and England, Mexico and the South Pacific. Then God started to show me what He can do when a small thing is put into His hands.
I began receiving letters and emails and even a few phone calls telling me how that small book had changed their lives.
God had a plan. It was not my skilful inspiring words that can change someone’s life. It was God’s Spirit that moved the hearts of his people through the words in a small devotional book. And sometimes he does it through a mystery or a romance or a fantasy novel. God has a plan to heal and restore, to instil a renewed faith and to bestow joy beyond our wildest dreams upon the lives of His people, through our words.
So, how many loaves do you have? Does it seem like only a few crumbs in the face of a great need? Be encouraged. Jesus will take those crumbs and make them enough. In fact, He will make them into an abundance of blessing as they are fed to those who hunger for them.
So offer them up. Then stand back and watch.
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