“I have compassion on the crowd, because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. And if I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way. And some of them have come from far away.” And his disciples answered him, “How can one feed these people with bread here in this desolate place?” And he asked them, “How many loaves do you have?” Mark 8:2-5
An impossible task: Four thousand hungry people in the middle of the wilderness and Jesus wants the disciples to feed them. They are far from civilization and cannot send the people away. What does Jesus really expect them to do?
It’s not hard to identify with the disciples. We have a huge task before us as a church: To go and make disciples of all nations. Sometimes it’s hard enough to be good disciples ourselves, yet we are called to make disciples throughout the world. He can’t be serious, can He? Indeed He is.
While it may seem like a huge task, Jesus hasn’t left us without the resources needed to accomplish it. When the disciples questioned their ability to feed such a great crowd in such a desolate place, Jesus didn’t go into great specifics. He didn’t lay out an elaborate plan or provide a training program for how to accomplish it. He simply asked about the readily available resources, which in this case were seven loaves of bread and a few small fish. Those precious few resources, when placed in the capable hands of our Lord, fed 4,000 people. They even had leftovers for later! What seemed like so little to the disciples was more than enough in the hands of Jesus.
God can do great works through your small gifts. He is not concerned with the limit of your resources or talents. No, God is concerned with your faith in Him and your willingness to turn those talents over to Him to use for His kingdom. He can make a great symphony with a simple song in your heart. He can expand His kingdom exponentially with your faithful teaching in a small group. And as we’ve seen at Second Baptist, He can provide warmth for the homeless across the world with a few crocheting ladies and some plastic grocery bags.
Don’t be concerned if you think you have little to give to God. He doesn’t call us to have much, just to trust more. It’s ok to go to God and say, “I don’t have a lot, Lord, but what I have, please use.” You’ll be amazed at the things God will do in your life, the life of your family and community when you take what little resources you have and place them in the hands of God.
The incredible irony in this story is that this was not the disciples’ first experience feeding a large crowd with little food. In Mark 6, Jesus fed a larger crowd (5,000) with fewer loaves (5). After experiencing the first miracle, surely the disciples would have confidence and faith that Jesus could feed fewer people with more resources; but still they doubted. Despite their doubt, Jesus worked a great miracle.
Even in doubt, trust in the Lord. You may feel you have little faith, but God can use even that. One of my favorite Christian songs right now is Even If by MercyMe. My favorite line of the song says, “They say it only takes a little faith to move a mountain. Well good thing, a little faith is all I have, right now.” Faith is your greatest resource. Whether you have a little or a lot, put you faith in the hands of God and stand back as He moves mountains for His glory!