8 Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, was one of the disciples. He spoke up and said, 9 “There is a boy here who has five small loaves of barley bread and two fish. But what good is that with all these people?”
10 The ground was covered with grass, and Jesus told his disciples to have everyone sit down. About five thousand men were in the crowd. 11 Jesus took the bread in his hands and gave thanks to God. Then he passed the bread to the people, and he did the same with the fish, until everyone had plenty to eat.
I love this passage. The God of such abundance taking the humble offering of one boy, surely inconsequential in terms of the need, and making it beyond belief and plenty.
He ignores the stupidity of those who came unprepared and the disbelief of the disciples that anything could be done – and he gives and he blesses. In the hands of God what is there is way beyond expectations and more than enough to fill the hunger.
The boy didn’t worry about how small a lunch he had to offer, he just gave it to Jesus to use. He could have worried how little it was, known it was not enough and so said nothing – then what would Jesus have had to work with? But in being willing to hand it over, there was a beginning. Andrew sees the paucity of what is available, Jesus sees a gift offered.
Nouwen reminds us that what we give is multiplied – that is God’s way. And the more we give away, the more we discover how much there is to give away – but we have to be willing to give it.
The theme of giving generously continues.
What have I got that I can offer to God? It may seem small or insignificant to me, but in the hands of God, what may it become? I can hide it away, embarrassed at the meagerness of it, or humbly offer it to God for him to use it. We all have something we can offer to him.
I offer to you,
what I have,
what I am.
To me it seems small,
nowhere near enough,
but I give it to you,
that you may do
with it what you will
This year for Advent – and into Christmas, some friends and I are using Advent and Christmas Wisdom from Henri J. M. Nouwen. You’re welcome to join us on this journey. Feel free to comment here, or on Twitter using #adventbookclub
Also blogging on the #adventbookclub are: