He answered them, “You give them something to eat” … And they all ate and were satisfied.
When Jesus directed the disciples to feed a crowd of 5,000 men, plus women and children, with nothing but a young boy’s five loaves of bread and two fish, they faced a seemingly impossible situation. As Andrew questioned, “What are they for so many?” (John 6:9). But the Twelve did as Jesus directed them: they sat the people down, separated them into groups, and then divided the loaves and fish. And divided. And divided. And before they knew it, a miracle had unfolded.
The five loaves and two fish managed to feed thousands—and not just with the tiniest servings of food but with such an abundance that “they all ate and were satisfied.” In fact, in a rather humorous turn of events, there were even leftovers. Just as God had done centuries earlier with the manna in the wilderness (Exodus 16), here the Shepherd of Israel proved His identity and provided for His people’s needs, both literally and symbolically.
It should be impossible for us to consider this story and not recognize that God takes unmanageable situations and unbelievably limited resources and multiplies them for the well-being of others and the glory of His name. And He can do this with our lives as well.
Perhaps, if you are the only Christian in your family, in your class, or at your job, you may wonder, like Andrew, “What am I among so many? What can I say? What can I do?” But here is the real question to ask: “Have I truly offered up my resources to God—my time, talents, energy, gifts, and finances?” They may not be much. But He can multiply them!
The missionary Gladys Aylward lived in London with no education and no savings. What she had, though, was a passionate longing to go to China to share the gospel. This small-statured lady, who had long, straight, black hair, thus began a journey by train and then by ocean liner, and eventually ended up in Shanghai. As she stood on the deck, looking out on the city, she saw all the small-statured Chinese people with their straight, black hair, and she suddenly realized that God had had a plan and purpose for her all along. He’d even established her DNA in such a way that she would be perfectly suited to become the “Little Woman” who would reach countless tiny children with the gospel—all because she offered up her life to God and He multiplied it for His glory.
As you look out on your day and your week, offer yourself to God. Your inability is His opportunity. Your weaknesses and your sense of dependence form the very basis upon which He shows Himself to be strong. With nothing but mere loaves and fish, He satisfied thousands. Be in no doubt that He can use you to do great things of eternal worth, if you will only ask Him.
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Devotional material is taken from the Truth For Life daily devotional by Alistair Begg, published by The Good Book Company, thegoodbook.com. Used by Truth For Life with permission. Copyright © 2021, The Good Book Company.