The Lord delights to show us how He can do much with little
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth, not from primordial ooze but ex-nihilo, from nothing. “By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth. For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.”1
God’s passion since He spoke the cosmos into existence has been for people—His creative masterpiece. Throughout history God has intervened in the affairs of man to accomplish His own purposes. From the simple, everyday challenges to the magnificent provision of a Savior, the sojourn of man is replete with testimony of His hand.
As the population of planet Earth continues to grow exponentially, there are more people alive now who have never heard the name of Jesus than ever before. However, God still moves in our world today! This is a very exciting time in history, because God is mobilizing His church to carry the Gospel around the globe. His ear is still tuned to hear the despairing cries of the lost. He is still actively involved in the lives of men and women today, and the global impact of His intervention is profound! Jesus’ words ring a clarion call to His followers: as we go out into the world, we are to “make disciples of all nations.” 2 Can finite man truly make a global impact of such massive proportions?
Luke chapter nine presents some vital principles of divine intervention that are key to our ministry in this age. A crowd of perhaps fifteen thousand people (five thousand men
plus women and children) had gathered to hear Jesus in a remote place called Bethsaida.3 The people were hungry, and the disciples suggested that Jesus send them away to find something to eat. The Savior responded with an incredible command: “You give them something to eat.” They “did the math” and responded, “We have only five loaves of bread and two fish--unless we go and buy food for all this crowd.” (v. 13a) Feed so many people with so little food? Impossible!
Having created the universe by the simple word of His mouth, Jesus had no problem feeding fifteen thousand people with five loaves and two fish. Instead of bemoaning the scope of the task or the scarcity of resources, He simply begins to act. “Have them sit down in groups of about fifty each.” (v. 14) Notice Jesus’ actions: “Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, He gave thanks and broke them. Then he gave them to the disciples to distribute to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.” (vs. 16, 17)
It is striking that John makes passing reference to the event in chapter six of his gospel: “Howbeit there came other boats from Tiberias nigh unto the place where they did eat bread, after that the Lord had given thanks.” (v. 23) John seems to be amazed that the miracle occurred after He had given thanks! The major factor in the account was not the inadequacy of resources, but rather the super-abounding power of God that was more than enough to meet the need with so little.
1Psalm 33:6, 9
3Bethsaida means “house of fishing.”