Have you ever asked yourself the question? Can I make a difference? I’ve often said things to myself like . . . “well I’m only one person, in the whole scheme of things, I don’t really think that there is anything that “I” can do or offer that will really help change things, so we don’t bother. We look at our circumstances, we look at our resources, we shrug our shoulders and we do nothing.
This morning I was reading the in the sixth chapter of Luke, the account of Jesus feeding the five thousand. In the text, Jesus had just crossed over to the far side of the Sea of Galilee. A large multitude of people had been following him due to his miraculous signs of healing the sick. When Jesus saw the huge crowd following him, he turned to Peter and said . . . “Where can we buy bread to feed all of these people?” Philip replied . . . “Even if we worked for months, we wouldn’t have enough money to feed this large group.” Now Jesus already knew what he was going to do, but he chose to ask Philip this to test his faith.
I find it funny that God humors us by asking us questions he already knows the answers to. He already knows the game plan and how we are going to respond, but he still puts it out there, so that lessons can be learned from our responses. Philip immediately began in his own humanness, to count the cost. I can just hear him saying something like, come on Jesus, were hundred of miles from nowhere, there are thousands of people here and even if we worked for years, we wouldn’t have enough money to feed all these people. I don’t think he quite fully understood to the “full extent” who exactly he was with, that this was the “son of God,” who had been performing miracles right before them. I’m almost sure that I would have reacted the same as Philip. What God was about to do, could not be done other than through the miraculous. God was teaching them that he is not limited by circumstances or resources as we are. Philip’s humanness said, it can’t be done.
As the story continues Andrew spoke up and said . . . “there is a young boy here with five barley loaves and two fish . . . but what good will that do with this huge crowd?” Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks to God and distributed the bread and afterwards he did the same with the fish. Everyone ate as much as they wanted and then Jesus instructed his disciples to pick up the remaining food so that nothing would be wasted. The disciples collected “twelve baskets” of leftovers.
The boy took what he had, and out of a simple gesture of faith, offered it to Jesus. He gave all of what he had, and Jesus worked the miracle. Ah, what lessons to be learned from such pure and simple faith. God wants the same from us today. He doesn’t want us to get hung up on the circumstances or our own human limitations. He wants us to trust him (by faith) with the things he has entrusted to us. He wants us to give those things back to him for his use, so that he again “can work the miracle.” God first of all wants our hearts, he wants our time, our gifts, our talents and all our resources. He wants all of the things he so richly blesses us with to be used for his glory.
Not only did Jesus feed such a great multitude, but there were leftovers. This tells me that Jesus wants to give to us in abundance, more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power (The Holy Spirit) that is at work within us. So back to my original question . . . Can I make a difference? I think the question should be . . . Will I do something to help make a difference? Like the young boy in the account of Luke, let us offer up all we have and let God make the difference! Will we act in faith and obedience today?
Father God thank you for the bountiful riches you give us. Help us in pure simple obedience to give all that you have given us to be used for your purposes. This can only be done through daily committing ourselves to you and to the work of your kingdom. Help us to die to ourselves so that we may fully live for you. You are a mighty God, help us to find that true riches and abundance can only be found by living a life fully yielded to you. Lord Jesus by your Holy Spirit, help us to be your hands and feet to this world. To you be all glory and honor forever! AMEN