By Joyell Nevins – CFFM Blogger
It’s hot. The crowd is excited, probably exhausted. And now they’re likely ravenous. After one of the many occasions Jesus Christ was preaching and healing for a multitude, he noted that this crowd needed to eat!
“Then Jesus lifted up his eyes, and seeing a great multitude coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?” John 6:5 NKJV
His disciple Philip replied that they didn’t have a lot of money to buy bread, and disciple Andrew noted a kid in the crowd that had a little food to share.
“One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?” John 5:8 NKJV
A Big Difference
The Berean Standard Bible translates that last line as “but what difference will these make among so many?”
I can imagine the hopelessness and frustration of Andrew when he says that. Have you ever felt that way?
‘God, I’m so small, what do I have to give?’ I’m so weak, I’m so poor, I’m so young, I’m so old, I’m so new, you fill in the reason.
But Jesus, who always did the Father’s will and showed the Father’s heart, already knew what he could do with that little bit of bread and fish.
“So Jesus, after raising his eyes and seeing that a large crowd was coming to him, said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread so that these people may eat?” But he was saying this only to test him, for he himself knew what he intended to do.” John 6:5-6 NASB
Jesus was not intimidated by the small amount of resources available, and neither is our Father God.
In the rest of the story, Jesus takes the bread, give thanks, and there ends up being enough food to feed more than 5,000 men, women, and children
Illustration by Jim Padgett, courtesy of Sweet Publishing
They even had leftovers!
“So they gathered [the leftover pieces] up, and filled twelve baskets with pieces from the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten.” John 6:13 NASB
God is still using our little to make a lot today. Maybe you don’t have enough food to feed your whole church or fellowship, but you can share a meal with one family.
Maybe you can’t minister to all the kids in your neighborhood, but you can mentor one young person. Maybe you don’t have the time you wish you had to spend with your family, but you can make pockets of time memorable.
Relationships that Ripple
In my church in California, there is a discipleship program, similar to a mentorship or spiritual coaching. There is currently a dearth between the amount of young people or new Christians seeking a ‘discipler’, versus the amount of more mature Christians offering to be the mentor.
I would love to take all of those needing guidance under my wing. When I hear this discrepancy mentioned, I want to sign up again and again.
But you know what? I don’t have the space, time, or resources in my life to work with multiple mentees.
What I do have is one amazing young woman that I have been discipling for the last 14 months. She’s less of a mentee and more of a little sister, so we call each other our “Grove Sister.”
Photo: My Grove sister and I at a watermelon-themed tea.
We were connected through my church’s program and have continued our relationship outside of the official timeline/agreement.
My connection with this special lady has been a blessing both to her and me. We have laughed together, shared together, and grown together.
We have both spoken into each other’s lives and brought greater joy and (hopefully 😉 ) greater wisdom. I wholeheartedly believe that our relationship ripples into other areas – there are cycles being broken and relationships being strengthened through hers and my friendship.
There continue to be other situations where someone I know is going through a rough time, and I can’t help or fix everything – or even close to everything – but I can offer something. A call, a meal, a hug, a ride, a coffee, a listening ear.
And God can always take that something and make it a big thing. My question to you, believers, is what little thing do you have to give that God wants to ripple out?
“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