“He will love you, bless you, and multiply you. He will also bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground, your grain and your wine and your oil, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock, in the land that he swore to your fathers to give you.” – Deuteronomy 7:13
In May of 2005 a 1999 Volkswagen Golf was sold on eBay for the price of $244,000. No, it was not gold plated or one of a kind. There was nothing truly unique about the car, except for who owned it. The car was owned by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who became Pope Benedict. The fact that the Pope owned the car caused the value of the car to multiply many times over its true value.
Jesus blessed and added value to everything. He was given a coin and made it into a lesson of our responsibilities both to God and government. He was given a boat and turned it into a pulpit on which he could teach the multitudes. He was given a donkey and made it an image of servant leadership. He was given a bowl and a towel and gave us a model of humility. He was given a cross, and made it a symbol of salvation.
I always stand in awe when I think about the way that God multiplied life through the life, the death, and the resurrection of His Son. Because of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, there are literally millions and millions and millions of Christians around the world. All the people who found eternal life over thousands of years did so because Jesus Christ gave His one life. Now that is multiplication.
The feeding the 5,000 story should remind those of us who are followers of Jesus that our problems are never too large for God to handle. I’m sure the disciples were a little confused, and wondering what could they accomplish with only five loaves and two fish.
As believers, we should know, at least theoretically, that God can do anything. He is God so He can feed as many people as He wants. The problem comes when we are faced with a practical application of the theory/belief in our lives, we wonder whether God will meet our need. So we take things in our own hands.
The feeding of the 5,000 is proof that no matter how insignificant we may think our gifts or talents are, we can expect God to do far beyond what can be imagined. “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us.” (Ephesians 3:20). We simply need to step out in faith.
2 Peter 1:2 says, “May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” And Ecclesiastes 3: 11 says, “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”
The message of the feed the 5,000 is the miracle, and the miracle is, we are not alone. Jesus is with us, working the impossible. We simply need to let go of our lunches, so countless others can be satisfied—with bread, but also with more than bread. Because Jesus will multiply what we give to Him.
- What ideas of images come to mind when you hear words like multiply or firstfruits?
- Does fear play a role in your multiplication thinking? What about debt?
- What areas of your life do you believe God is calling you to pursue more returns on His investment?
- If you start giving generously, where would you start? How do you think your life would change?
- In your thinking, does giving generously mean money, or time and talents as well? Why?