Monday, March 23, 2009

Multiplication in God's Economy

When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, "Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?" He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.

Philip answered him, "Eight months' wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!"

Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, spoke up, "Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?" (John 6:5-9)

Such a familiar story. But this morning it reminded me of a few things.

When Jesus asks, "Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?," Philip answers him practically, humanly--even doing a little math in his head, perhaps--that financially, it is impossible. How very like practical me!

What was Jesus testing in Philip when he asked him this question? He probably already knew Philip's bent for thinking concretely. Was he testing his compassion? I think my reaction, after stating the facts, would be to conclude, "They're going to have to leave now. We're going to have to draw this meeting to a close and send everybody on their way. They can stop at the market on the way home!"

Andrew is the hero of this story, of course. He happens to be the one who discovers the boy's small lunch, but he has enough imagination to bring it to Jesus' attention, rather than sending the boy on his way. He has little hope that it will go very far, but perhaps a few people could be fed with it, he thinks.

How many times have I missed out on God's miraculous multiplication of resources by concluding that something is simply impossible? How often have I failed to bring even the slim resources that I have to the Lord, to see what He might do with them?

I am too quick to say, "There isn't enough time, money, or energy for that, Lord. That person or that need is going to have to be filled some other way. I can't do it." Instead, I should prayerfully bring that need to the Lord along with what little I may have to give...and see what He does!

Absolutely, my family comes first. My marriage, my kids' education, our church family--these are things that will consume the bulk of my time and attention. But I want to be a kingdom thinker. I can spend a few minutes in prayer on needs that are beyond my capacity to meet. I can bring a little imagination into the next "impossible" equation, give a little thought to who I know who might be interested in the need, I can attend a meeting or write a letter. I can write a few more small checks.

Lord, help me change my focus on what I don't have to give, to what I do have!


His Hands His Feet Today said...

OH AMEN!!!!!
A good word sister!!!

Jessica said...

Hear, hear! I always think of it as "trusting him to provide the increase". Thanks for reminding me of this today.