As Christ set out to feed some 5000 men, plus women and children in Matthew 14, He asked His friends to participate, “How many loaves do you have?”
He asked that same question again when He fed the four thousand later on in His ministry. As I thought about that question and the motive behind it, I realized that Jesus was forcing His disciples to do a bit of personal inventorying.
He asked them to consider what they might bring to the table in order to meet the need. Clearly, He still intended to do the lion share of the miracle, but He wanted them to, as my father might say, “have some skin in the game.”
This situation makes me remember an event that took place a few years ago. I was en route to do some ministry in Kenya and my God-daughter wanted to come along. I said sure, as long as she had a ministry there and raised all the necessary funds for that ministry.
Well, she set out to purchase several thousand dollars worth of much needed mosquito nets (a very practical gift in that country). When she asked her uncle to donate, he replied, “Sure. I will match every dollar you personally invest.”
Needless to say, she was set back some. She was forced to consider how much she was individually willing to invest in the project. How much did it all mean to her? Eventually she got the point and invested generously. And I am sure that the ministry joy was greatly enhanced by her personal involvement.
It is that same truth that is illustrated in Jesus’ question to His disciples. He was committed to meeting the need of the people. He was prepared to do the miracle. He was motivated by love and concern. But He wanted His disciples to participate.
You know the story, the disciples could only come up with five small biscuits and two little fish. That was the sum total of their resources. But when those meager supplies were blessed by the Lord, they miraculously multiplied and more than met the need.
This week might be a good time for you and I to do some personal inventory work too. What do we have to bring to the proverbial table? What resources do we have to place at the disposal of our Savior? What might He bless and multiply?
Well… we have time, energy, some money, spiritual gifts and natural talents, opportunities and friendships, encouragement and listening ears, meals, rides and maybe we also have jobs to offer those hurting financially.
Whatever the resources are, we ought to be ready to offer them up for the Lord’s work. He will undoubtedly do the difficult part, He just loves to see us participating. So, how many loaves do you have?