Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love. Where there is injury, pardon. Where there is doubt, faith. Where there is despair, hope. Where there is darkness, light. Where there is sadness, joy.
Tonight I’m picking up with Mark 6 again, this time reading the whole section of Mark 6:30-43. I’m tired, and it’s tempting to just read through it one time “real quick.” But I don’t want to rush through. There is so much here to consider!
Here’s a question I am asking tonight that I have never asked before: was there really only one person who came to this “desolate place” who brought something for lunch? We have hundreds—no, thousands—of people: men, women, and children. They heard where Jesus was going and raced to get there ahead of him, because they knew about his teaching. They had to know that it would be an all day affair. They had to know that there would not be any food provided.
They had to have brought lunches.
But when Jesus asked his disciples to go around and ask people for food, they came back with five loaves and two fish.
Seriously? In a crowd of perhaps fifteen thousand people—five thousand men, plus women and children—there were only five loaves and two fish?
I think not. I think that many others in the crowd had food—they just didn’t want to give it to Jesus. It’s my lunch, they may have thought. If I give it to Jesus, what am I going to eat?!
Or perhaps they thought, How could Jesus possibly use my piddly little lunch? I have bread and fish… but not enough for my own family, let alone everyone here! No, I’d better keep it to myself.
How often do we withhold what we have to give because we either don’t trust Jesus to take care of our needs if we give it up, or we don’t think it’s significant enough to be helpful?
I want to live my life like the person who handed over his loaves and fish. You want this, Jesus? It’s yours! It’s not always easy. I like to feel like I am “safe” and I have a good store house in case of famine. But what a gift to be the one whose “five loaves and two fish” become God’s gift to a whole big crowd of people? My application and yours is this: whatever your “loaves and fish” are—offer them freely to Jesus, and trust that he’ll do more than we could ask or imagine.
Money? It’s yours, God! Beyond any “tithes,” my money—all of it—is yours. God might be asking us to give an unusually generous gift, one that seems beyond our ability. Or, God might be asking us to give a small gift that we fear will be irrelevant. Either way—GIVE IT. Present your gift to the Lord and trust that he will multiply it 30, 60 or 100-fold!
Time? Take it! Even though I know we’re called to observe times of sabbath, it’s like my brother, Matthew, pointed out yesterday: “Sabbath keeping is important, but there are seasons, like the one described in Mark 6, in which it seems impossible. Embrace the work to which God has called you, and trust God to lead you to Sabbath when the time is right.” Jesus wants all our time—some of it will be for working, some will be for resting, but in either case, it’s all his.
Talents? Take them, Lord. Whether it’s cooking for the youth group, decorating for VBS, cleaning the church bathrooms, visiting shut-ins, or doing computer work for someone who needs help—my talents are for your use.
These are just some of the “loaves and fish” we can offer to God and watch him multiply and use as nourishment for many. Take a moment to pray, asking God: what are my “loaves and fish” that you want me to hand over?