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We and our five loaves
- Jacob Ninan
When the little boy gave his five loaves and two fish to the disciples of Jesus, did he have the slightest idea that Jesus was going to use them to feed about 15000 people - 5000 men plus women and children (Mt.14:21:Jn.6:9)? In a sense it was good that he did not know, because he gave them away not knowing what was going to happen. Imagine what would have happened if someone had told him that he was to give his five loaves to feed 15000 people! It would have appeared to be too incredulous. What if it was us, grown up men or women, standing there with the loaves? Would we have moved away from there with our loaves because we would think how foolish we would look if nothing happened! We would not expect our five loaves to feed even 50 people, would we?
On the other hand, sometimes the Lord tells us to do something small - like giving someone a verse, writing an email or praying for something. Do we wonder what good can come from that, because it is so small and insignificant? Do we think that if only the Lord had given us some supernatural power that we could demonstrate before other people we could do mighty things for Him? Our mistake is in expecting us to have power in us and not realising that our Almighty God is in the business of taking our small loaves and turning them into miracles. We don't like to remain only earthen vessels and let the supernatural power always be His (2Co.4:7).
This unbelief and natural way of thinking hold us back from doing the small things that we can do. We don't mind making a loud and impressive prayer in a large gathering because that is something great. But what about praying for someone in secret or giving some help without the left hand knowing what the right hand has done (Mt.6:3,4)? We don't realise how much result our small action can bring about in the kingdom of God. For example, our small witness may convert just one man and that man may turn out to be the next great evangelist who will bring thousands into the kingdom of God! One small word which we speak to one man may cause a blessing for many generations in his family! How much we can miss by looking for the big things and neglecting the small!
Jesus said that if we were not faithful in the small things we could not be entrusted with bigger things (Lk.16:11). The reason why we don't show interest in small things may be that they don't bring us any recognition before others. In that case there is something seriously wrong at our root level itself, because we are looking for glory before men and not before God (Jn.5:44). Then the chances are that we are fooling ourselves if we think we love God (v.42).
Faithfulness in small things comes only from the roots of a deep faith in God and a genuine love for Him and His people. Faith helps us to expect that God will take our small offerings and multiply them. Love helps us to do even small things for Him and the others. May God help us to grow in these virtues.