Little Given with Much Gained

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Today, I felt small. Unlike the lyrics of a popular country song, I wasn’t standing beside the ocean. Like many of you, I am in a season of change. My days have turned from the fast-paced atmosphere, where patients and co-workers consume my attention, to the grind of mundane task and the silence of an empty house. However, my daily chores come packaged differently these days. My children are grown, one married, one in the process of moving out and one working full-time while preparing for college. Because they are rarely home, dinner is mostly prepared for two, and from habit, they do most of their laundry.

In this season, I actually have time to plan my days. Ironic, I know! Before, so much of my time was spent at work, I didn’t have any need to account for it. Now I stare at the empty pages in my planner. However, today is different. It’s our monthly WOW (Women on Missions) gathering. My honda is packed with canned goods for our November project. We collected these items for those who, for various reasons, will struggle to put together a Thanksgiving meal for their families. In addition some items were collected for two local schools to meet the needs of their students. I am blessed to be part of a mission minded church.

I finished filling my planner with meals and appointments for the week. Afterwards, I said a quick prayer confessing my feelings of insignificance and for feeling so small in a big world with great needs. As I pondered this, my mind went to the miracle of Jesus feeding the five thousand-plus followers found in the gospels. I opened my bible and turned to John. I love John’s account found in chapter six. A lad with a lunch of two fish and five barley loaves is recognized by Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He tells Jesus about the small lunch and then his negativity explodes as he notes the obvious in our human eyes. “But what are they among so many?”

The response Jesus gives doesn’t make sense. Instead of sending them away, He instructs the disciples to have them sit down.

And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted. So when they were filled, He said to His disciples, "Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost." Therefore they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten. John 6: 11-13

Today, I read this and wondered what the lad must have been thinking. We aren’t told much about him, but, I find it odd that he had five barley loaves and two fish when no one else seemed to have food. I wonder if he was alone. We aren’t given his age, but lad could refer to a young child, a teen or even a young man in his twenties. The fact that he had barley bread could be an indication he was poor as those wealthier preferred wheat bread. The fish could have been dried or pickled for preservation. Also I couldn’t help but notice that Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother spotted the lad’s lunch. Was Andrew hungry? I wonder what the lad thought when his meal was taken. Did he give it willingly? I wonder if he thought the disciple was going to find someone to share his lunch. Maybe the disciple told him Jesus wanted his lunch. Now there’s a thought! To think Jesus would use something so small and turn it into more than enough is unimaginable in our eyes. Oh, but did he know his little offering placed in the hands of Jesus, would be a great gain for those in His presence? His small lunch was about to be multiplied beyond anything he could fathom. It became exceedingly abundant feeding all the people with twelve baskets left over! I believe the lad walked away with more than a full stomach after witnessing this miracle. Little was given but much was gained! They were spiritually and physically fed.

Today, I felt small. Not because I stood beside the ocean but because I found myself trying to carry the weight of the world’s needs on my shoulders. Familiar thoughts of insignificance flooded my mind and threatened to rob my joy. Then, I met Jesus in scripture this morning! He lifted my eyes to His truth and I was reminded of something profound. My little, whatever it may be at the moment, placed in His hands, brings much gain to benefit all of those who will receive His blessing. Wow! Then the most amazing thing happens. After I give my little something, He pours out in me a surplus of joy and restores my soul with a sense of purpose. That little something you hold onto, like the gift, the tallent, the ability to serve, the tithe, the skill, the art or maybe the song, no matter how small or insignificant it seems to you, placed in the hands of Jesus; it is much! God bless.

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3: 20-21 NKJV

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