Jesus Will Multiply What We Offer
After this Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. And a large crowd was following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing on the sick. Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples. Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand. Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a large crowd was coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?” He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread would not be enough for each of them to get a little.” One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?” Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, about five thousand in number. Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted. And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.” So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves left by those who had eaten. When the people saw the sign that he had done, they said, “This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!” Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself. (John 6:1-15 ESV)
Jesus tested the disciples by asking Philip where they could buy bread to feed the people. John noted that Jesus already knew what he would do. But did Jesus expect Philip to know what he had already planned?
Neither Philip nor Andrew (or the other disciples) knew what to do; it was an impossible task. That day, Jesus fed 5,000 men. Some scholars suggest that if the wives and children were counted as well, there would have been at least 15,000 people! Jesus asked an impossible question that everyone would have struggled to answer.
Do you have problems that seem impossible to solve? Jesus will provide the answer. He has shown that He is the provider, the Bread of Life. But do we truly believe?
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever. (Psalm 23:5-6 ESV)
The psalm King David wrote about God is so beautiful! He understands that God’s blessings for us overflows. If David was asked the very same question that was posed to Andrew, he might perhaps have given the right answer. He was so close to God’s heart and confident that God will provide.
And Elisha came again to Gilgal when there was a famine in the land…. A man came from Baal-shalishah, bringing the man of God bread of the firstfruits, twenty loaves of barley and fresh ears of grain in his sack. And Elisha said, “Give to the men, that they may eat.” But his servant said, “How can I set this before a hundred men?” So he repeated, “Give them to the men, that they may eat, for thus says the LORD, ‘They shall eat and have some left.'” So he set it before them. And they ate and had some left, according to the word of the LORD. (2 Kings 4:38, 42-44 ESV)
Jesus’ feeding of the 5,000 men was similar to what Elisha did at Gilgal. The disciples should have been familiar with what Elisha did, but perhaps they only saw the parallel after Jesus’ miraculous provision. How about the boy who gave the 5 loaves and 2 fishes, and the man from Baal-shalishah? It wouldn’t have required much common sense to know that the boy’s morsels would have been insufficient, and no one would have blamed him for not sharing them. As for the man from Baal-shalishah, there was a famine then, and it would have been understandable if he kept his own supplies too. But they brought their offerings to God and God multiplied them. Not only did they witness a miracle, they played a part in it.
While Philip and Andrew puzzled over an answer to the problem, the boy took the initiative to offer his little insufficient solution; it was all that Jesus needed. Would we have been like the boy and the man from Baal-shalishah? Would we have been the ones to share our food if we were there?
God will multiply our offerings too. But we must provide that initial offering, the spark that God will fan into a fire; the mustard seed faith that God will grow into a tree. Pray for our faith, act on it and God will make it grow. We need to believe that God will multiply what we willingly offer, manifold.
Love that person in Christ, and let God multiply His love through you. Take a step towards solving that discouraging problem, even if it only a small one, and God will provide the ultimate solution. Show God that you have the seed of faith, and let God show you the wonders He can do with your belief.
What are we holding back in our lives today? Let’s bring our offerings to God, and let Him multiply them.