20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. [Ephesians 3:20-21]
Jesus was distraught over the greatest prophet ever alive being killed. [Remember Jesus is much more than a prophet - He is God in the flesh] John the Baptist was beheaded. He went off to a solitary place to pray. But He could never be alone too long. The crowds followed Him. They were like sheep without a shepherd. He healed their sick. He cast out the demons. And then it was time for the crowd to be dispersed. Yet, they were hungry. What to do?
Matthew 14 records the events in this way. The crowds are there - healed but hungry. They have heard the words of Jesus; they have seen and received the miracles of Jesus. If they left, they still would have been satisfied. But Jesus had not yet given enough. He called the disciples together and told them to feed the five thousand. They doubted. "How can we feed so many?" Jesus even says quite forcefully, "you give them something to eat." The disciples respond, "we have but five loaves of bread and two fish - what will so little do amongst so many?"
This is the question for the ages. "What will so little do amongst so many?" Sadly, this is the mentality of too many of us. We forget that we have Jesus with us. He can take our, "little" and do amazing things. Jesus took the five loaves and the two fish and broke the bread. He looked up to heaven and gave thanks to the Father. He then told the disciples to distribute.
Can you imagine the disciples' faces as they walk toward the crowds of people with a paltry amount of fish and bread. Can you imagine the doubt that would be going through their minds? But then the miraculous happens. They hand the five loaves and two fish to the crowd and it multiplies. All have their fill and are, "satisfied" the Scripture tells us. They ate as much as they wanted.
Now, what is amazing about all of this is that the leftovers were more than what they started out with. They had 12 baskets of bread left over.
I see something amazing here. Jesus gave more than expected. He healed. He spoke. He fed the body. He provided for all of their needs. That is our Jesus - He gives abundantly and all glory goes to Him.
Now, the response of the Christian to this should be the response of the disciples. Even in their trepidation [remember, they gave all they had to the crowd - they would have had, 'nothing' left for themselves] they gave. Why? Because they had Jesus with them, that is why; and Jesus always provides.
This excites me. I must confess my worry. I must confess my hoarding my gifts, talents, and abilities to myself. I must not simply understand and know - but truly embrace the fact that Jesus loves me more than I love me; and He will always provide. This fact alone should excite me to give more than I think I can in all things.
During this Lenten season, let us truly focus on the giving nature of Christ to us and how that can compel us to give. Amen.