Mark 6:35-44 CEV
When it was late in the day, his followers came to him and said, “No one lives in this place, and it is already very late. Send the people away so they can go to the countryside and towns around here to buy themselves something to eat.” But Jesus answered, “You give them something to eat.” They said to him, “We would all have to work a month to earn enough money to buy that much bread!” Jesus asked them, “How many loaves of bread do you have? Go and see.” When they found out, they said, “Five loaves and two fish.” Then Jesus told his followers to have the people sit in groups on the green grass. So they sat in groups of fifty or a hundred. Jesus took the five loaves and two fish and, looking up to heaven, he thanked God for the food. He divided the bread and gave it to his followers for them to give to the people. Then he divided the two fish among them all. All the people ate and were satisfied. The followers filled twelve baskets with the leftover pieces of bread and fish. There were five thousand men who ate.
In John, we find that the fish and loaves belonged to a little boy.
“Here is a boy with five loaves of barley bread and two little fish, but that is not enough for so many people.” John 6:9
This parable is one of my favourites. I think because I have seen the little that I have offered to God multiplied in my life many times over. I find myself understanding all of the people in this parable at different moments in my life.
I have been the disciple. I have come to the end of a long day of ministry and have been tired and weary, when another need would offer itself to me and I felt like I had nothing left to give. A time when I just wanted to go home, go to bed, and rest my weary heart. I have felt the frustration at those moments of just wanting a break from the demands and pressures, but the need was calling and Jesus was telling me to stop looking at what I lacked and to offer what I had. It is not an easy thing to do in those moments. The flesh fights and screams, but obedience to what God is asking produces the multiplication in our weakest moments.
I have also been a member of the crowd. I have been in need. I have had places where even though I had been receiving spiritual food I had physical needs. Those needs were weighing on me and pressing on my heart. My body was tired from the day long spent waiting for the provision. I have understood the guy in the crowd and the need for both spiritual and physical nourishment. I am not referring to natural food, although it could be that. I am referring to personal need. The need for financial provision, the need for friendship, the need for understanding, the need love and acceptance, the need for direction, or answers to a troubling situation in my life. They needed provision at the end of their day. I have understood the need for provision many times. I can related to the guy in the crowd.
Then in John 6 there is the little boy. I may not get him perfectly, but I do understand him. I have stood at moments in my life when God has asked me to give all. He did not ask for one loaf or one fish, but for everything. I have been at moments where I did not have much to give but God has asked me to give what I had. Sometimes it has been money, other times it has been my time. There have also been moments where I have said to God, ” What can you really do with this life?”. He has responded to my heart, “Offer it, let me break it, and bless it, and see what I will do with it.”. This is not about how much I offer, but whether I give what I have and let him do what He can with it. I have seen him multiply my resources, and my life. He wasn’t looking for big, he was looking for commitment. I can understand the boy with the loaves and fish. I am a girl with the same.
I love this parable. I feel like it is my story. How can I apply this? I have friends, family, neighbours, and maybe even some strangers waiting for me to refuse to give up on them just because the day has been long spent. They are waiting for me to give life and trust God for the multiplication. Only He can do that. I offer. He multiplies.