Leftover loaves and fish

In the feeding of the 5,000, which would have actually numbered anywhere between 10,000–20,000 people, because the women and the children were not numbered in those days, Jesus fed the multitude with only five loaves and two fish.

And then we read this:

When they all had enough to eat, [Jesus] said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.

(John 6:12-13)

With only five loaves and two fish on hand, Jesus multiplied the meal to feed thousands on the hillside near the Sea of Galilee at Bethsaida. When the meal was done and everyone had eaten all they wanted, there were still leftovers!

So . . . what is the lesson our Lord wants us to learn in the leftovers? God takes our little and makes a lot, giving an abundance of blessings to all of His children.

What “little” do you have to offer Jesus today? Perhaps your thoughts have been much like Andrew’s: “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” With man, such a meager inventory would not have gone far; but in the hands of the Almighty, even among so many, the young boy’s offering went far beyond meeting their needs; his little went all the way to exceeding their needs. And the same is true for us today.

God takes whatever we offer him—our little time . . . our little talent . . . our little treasure—and multiplies it immeasurably beyond all we ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). If God can make something out of nothing, which He did in making the universe and everything in it, He can surely take our “little” and make it a lot!

Moses had only a shepherd’s staff, but in the power of God, it swallowed up the staffs of the Egyptian magicians. David had only a sling and five smooth stones, and in the strength of the Almighty, he slew the giant Goliath. Samson had only an ox goad, and in the strength of the Almighty, he slew a thousand Philistines. The woman who was bleeding for twelve years had just a little faith, only enough to reach out and touch the hem of Jesus’ garment, and she was instantly healed by the power of God.

Here is the key to the lesson in the leftovers: we must be willing to offer what God has given us in order for God to bless it. God multiplied the five talents and the two talents that were used in faithful service to Him (Matthew 25:14-22). But He did nothing with the talent that was hidden away. We must be willing to put in whatever we have been given, however insignificant our offering may seem to us, trusting that God will make it work for His glory and the good of all who love Him.

So, what “little” have you been holding back lately? Surrender control to Jesus, and watch Him multiply what little you have until you discover you have an abundance of leftovers . . . because God Himself supplied the increase.

This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!    

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