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?”
(John 6:8-9 ESV)
How many times have you looked at what someone has done, and thought ‘I wish I could have done that!’ or ‘O if I had that much faith how amazing would that be!‘.
Do you know, God does not call you to have ‘more’ faith than anyone? But just to have faith, to have trust in Him – that He is going to do something.
Let’s take a look at this scene in John (you can read the full passage in John 6:1-14). There are about 5000 ‘men’ following Jesus at this time. This could mean anywhere from 4500 (counting for loose maths of the recorder) to maybe 15000 or more (if women and children were not counted, which is a common belief). What ever way you count it, that’s a lot of people – and Jesus knew it.
So, Jesus calls over Phillip – ‘Hey Philip, these people are hungry, can you short order some catering for them?‘
Philip, instead of having a heart attack, simply responds ‘What?!!? 8 months wages wouldn’t buy enough food for these people, not to mention where on earth we would get the money or the food from, and you want me to feed them???‘
Now granted, if I had been Philip, this most likely would have been my response. What! You are Joking right Jesus, Ha Ha, very funny, what’s the real plan? This is the response of the flesh – without faith. We look at the insurmountable and cry out ‘that’s impossible!’
But here is the point. A guy we don’t hear much about at all – Andrew, the brother of Peter (yes, that Peter), speaks up. Maybe even in just a quiet, nervous voice – ‘Hey Jesus, I know it’s really not anything at all, but I’ve got a kid here with 5 loaves and 2 fish. Not enough to feed you me and him even, but it’s all we have‘.
You see, Andrew was starting to get it. He knew Jesus could do it. Jesus could have called manna from heaven and fed everyone there and then – but He chose instead to increase the faith of his disciples. So, Andrew offered what he had. ‘I know it’s not enough Jesus, no where near enough, but it’s something‘. He could have just told the kid to scurry off and eat his dinner before someone in the crowd mugged him, or just looked at them, said ‘yeah right’ and let it go. But instead, he took what little he had, and spoke up.
And so Jesus calls us to do. We don’t have enough to deal with the issues that face us daily – we might think we do, the world thinks it does, but in the end none of us do. We cannot solve our own issues of sin and lack of faith, let alone anything else! But God calls us to take that little that we have and step forward – ‘Here I am God, use me‘.
So what was the outcome here? All 5000 men (and possibly women and children as well, but 5000 is plenty impressive) ate until they were satisfied. We are not talking about a bite or two each – but each ate enough that they didn’t want more. Everyone was ‘full’. Just like in the desert when God had supplied manna for the Israelites - all were satisfied, whether they gathered little or much (Ex 16:18). God, through that little offering, had provided for them all more than they could need – so much more that the leftovers far outweighed the original offering.
So what is our takeaway? It doesn’t matter what your offering is – take it to God and He can, and will use it. You don’t need to be a ‘giant of faith’, with more talent than you could possibly dream of using – you just need to be willing to take what you have to God, and let Him do the multiplication.