I teach the elementary kids on Sundays, and the other week, we were studying Mark Chapter 6, the story of Jesus feeding 5000. I take teaching very seriously, so naturally, I jump to the most important aspect and hit up Piggly Wiggly to buy 5000 pretzels for the cheapest visual I could come up with. Sixteen family sized bags!
But as I set out the bags all over the floor for the kids to see and hold out the two crackers and five goldfish crackers that represented what the disciples had, I myself was humbled by what little those men had to offer Jesus. No way could they have been able to serve the crowd. In fact, they didn’t even want to try (Mark 6:36). But Jesus invites them in. “You give them something to eat” (Mark 6:37). You. He instructs the disciples to take care of it. He doesn’t offer, “I will feed them”, even though he was the only one who actually had the power to provide. He invited them into his work.
I started dumping out some pretzels onto our picnic blanket and asked the kids how on earth we could possibly get enough cracker pieces to match each pretzel. They thought maybe if we smashed the crackers small enough, we could evenly distribute the crumbs. Just what I would have wanted at the end of a long day with Jesus, a breadcrumb.
But the miracle here isn’t just that Jesus looks up to heaven and multiplies the bread and fish to barely be enough. He doesn’t even multiply it to be exactly enough. And he’s God, so I’m sure he knew exactly how much the people were going to eat. No, Jesus takes a small, seemingly worthless offering, and he multiplies it into abundance. Twelve baskets of leftovers were collected.
While I think it would have been amazing to have been a part of that scene, I almost think it is more amazing to witness this in our own lives. A simple prayer, a deep breath and patient response during conflict, a phone call, a text… all small, seemingly worthless offerings that I have seen God multiply into abundance.
It’s crazy to me. The gospel of Jesus continually blows my mind. Over and over, I find myself thinking it just doesn’t make sense that this God who doesn’t need a thing from his people would willingly choose to pour himself out for us, would continually choose to invite us in. And even when it seems like all we have to offer is worthless, we can still see him move in abundance, because it is never about what we have to offer.
Read: Mark 6:30 – 44
Stepping in: What do we learn about Jesus from this passage?
Journeying further: The disciples saw a need and wanted to push it away, but Jesus told them to take care of it. What is a need that you notice around you? What could you bring to Jesus that he might use you to fulfill the need?