Article: Little Is Much For Christ! | Jacob Varghese

Anyone who has been exposed to the Christian faith will know the story of Jesus feeding the five thousand. But just to refresh your memory, I would like you to turn your attention to John 6:1-15 for this short meditation. I want to give a special attention to verse 9 “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”
The fame of Jesus was spreading like wildfire as no one had performed wondrous miracles like this man (v. 2) and no one had spoken with authority like this teacher. People everywhere wanted to be in the presence of Jesus either to reap the physical benefits like healing, the spiritual benefits like listening to his teachings and preaching or the social benefits as it was the most popular thing to do at that time. Having a large and demanding crowd following him Jesus was tired, physically and emotionally. To find respite and to spend time with his disciples, he went to the other side of the Galilee and up a mountain. That did not work; the crowd followed him up the mountain! But Jesus, being the compassionate Savior that he is, did not try to escape. Jesus first saw that the crowd was hungry. Back in those days, there were no shopping mall or food courts, service plazas, or fast food drive. These men, women, and children had been following Christ for a long time, and they had physical needs. Jesus also recognized that these people had larger spiritual needs than a onetime meal. Even though they did not know it, they were following Jesus because their hearts were empty. Yes, they were physically hungry and they were spiritually starving to death. Finally, Jesus knew that the occasion of the crowd’s hunger and the timing of his provision would offer an opportunity to declare who he was. He also knew that this would give him an opportunity to shape his disciples’ faith. This story is a great reminder for us to have eyes like Christ, always on the lookout for opportunities to care physically and spiritually for those in our path.

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With the approaching crowd, Jesus turned to Philip and asked, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” (v. 5) Philip responds, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread would not be enough for each of them to get a little” (v. 7). In some translations we see, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” This is what I think Philip meant, because this is how I would have responded: “You have got to be kidding me, Jesus! Do you see the size of the crowd? We don’t have that kind of money. There is just no way this is going to happen!” But Jesus knew exactly what he was doing when he asked Philip the question. In verse 6 we read “Jesus asked this only to test Philip, for he already had in mind what he was going to do. But in the meantime another disciple of Jesus named Andrew located a boy carrying around a basket with five barley loaves and two fish. Just like Philip, Andrew also analyzed the scenario with great doubt and asked, “But what are they for so many?” (v. 9). One of the reasons I want to share this story is to focus on the minor and seemingly insignificant characters in Scripture. Whenever we learn about the feeding of the five thousand, we typically hear about Jesus, the crowd, or the disciples, but we neglect this central character the little boy. His story teaches us so much. No one in the crowd would have thought that this boy mattered. No one would have imagined that what he was carrying in his little basket would not only be the provision of the moment, but the basis of one of the most significant sermons Jesus ever preached. Let me tell you God uses people that other people don’t count. God uses people that other people discount. God uses people that other people say they are unimportant, so unimportant that they don’t even count. But that is the very insignificant one; the little boy had five loaves and two fish. He was the one nobody counted. For the crowd he was only a small boy. But the one people did not count, was the one that God counted. I want to tell you, this is the truth about our God. People may look at you as unimportant, may write you off as unimportant but God says I count people that other people do not count. This was one little boy in the crowd, with a little bit of seafood and bread, but he had been chosen by God to be a significant piece of the Messiah’s redemptive plan not only for that day, but for the rest of human history. No one knew that after this moment, every man, woman, and child who trusted in Jesus and read the Bible would know this boy, know exactly what was in his basket that day, and know how Jesus used him to make the point of points about his identity.
Here is what I am trying to say: we will never know which little person God will use, and how. That means that we are never just lost in the crowd. We are never without anything to offer. We never know who the Lord will claim and use in ways that we cannot predict or have not intended. The Lord knows us all. He knows where we are, what we have, and how we can be used. He is the Divine Author over each and every moment, writing our stories. He can do eternally amazing things with the little fragments of our lives that we are carrying around and that we tend to think are not worth much. When you realize what you have, God can multiply it. And always remember that God count people, that other people do not see anything worth counting in. Yes, that is the kind of God we serve. Whenever I think about this passage of Scripture, I always find myself wondering: what if that little boy had said no to the stranger who came and said that Jesus wanted his food? What if he had run as fast as he could into the crowd and disappeared? But the story did not happen that way. The boy selflessly gave up his little meal, and Jesus did with it what only the Son of God could do. By divine power, a crowd of thousands was satisfied by physical food and plenty of leftovers and simultaneously pointed to the eternal source of spiritual food that satisfies the soul. What an amazing story!

Christ did the impossible through an unremarkable boy in the middle of a very big crowd. This boy never received glory – only the Messiah did – but what he carried in his basket had bigger and more lasting implications than he would ever have been able to grasp. We just never know what God will ask of us. We never know when he will ask it. We never know ahead of time what will happen when he does. We never know how the Lord will redeem our little bits and pieces and use them to give grace to the hungry. That is just the way our God works. In verse 10 we see Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down -about five thousand men were there. Here we see Jesus bringing some order and structure to the crowd. Jesus said I want you to have an orderly structure that can maintain the magnitude of the blessing I want to pour in to your life. Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. When Jesus took the bread and the fish, we know what has happened. Jesus blessed it. In our life we need to learn to hand over to Jesus those things we think are not enough in our lives so that he can multiply it. When the bread loves and fish was in hands of the boy it was not enough for the crowd but when it was handed over to Jesus, it was multiplied. You might think, you are not enough, your family might think you are not enough, your friends might see you as not enough and even your spouse might see you that way but remember we serve a God who can turn our not enough resources into more than enough supplies. If Jesus can feed five thousand men, he can also give you more than enough. The few loaves of bread is obviously not enough to feed five thousand men plus the women plus their children. It is not enough but Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks for what is not enough. When you learn to be grateful even when you have is not enough then God can begin to multiply not enough in to more than enough. The major focus of this story is the sign of feeding the large crowd from such a small amount of food.

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When they all had enough to eat, Jesus said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten. It was Jewish custom to gather leftover food into a basket which they would carry around all day and eat as they needed. Leftovers mean that people are full obvious and the saving of leftovers may represent the idea “you are full right now but you will need more as time passes to nourish you” I think the only reason he gave them the leftovers so they would remember where He brought them from. You would remember how God opened doors for you, how God provided you, how God healed you in the past. Nobody else can your testimony like you can. But remember where He brought you from and where He is able to take you to and don’t let what you see today defeat you. He has not given you the spirit of fear but of power, and of love and of a sound mind. He is saying remember what I have done for you in the past. I will not fail you now. It is time beloved that we continue to trust God. He is the same yesterday, today and forever.

JACOB VARGHESE

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