“On their return the apostles told him all that they had done. And he took them and withdrew apart to a town called Bethsaida. When the crowds learned it, they followed him, and he welcomed them and spoke to them of the kingdom of God and cured those who had need of healing. Now the day began to wear away, and the twelve came and said to him, “Send the crowd away to go into the surrounding villages and countryside to find lodging and get provisions, for we are here in a desolate place.” But he said to them, “You give them something to eat.” They said, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish—unless we are to go and buy food for all these people.” For there were about five thousand men. And he said to his disciples, “Have them sit down in groups of about fifty each.” And they did so, and had them all sit down. And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing over them. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. And they all ate and were satisfied. And what was left over was picked up, twelve baskets of broken pieces.” Luke 9:10-17
I love this story, the multitude, the miracle, and the provision. As I read it today, what stuck out to me was that after the people were satisfied, what was left over was twelve baskets of broken pieces. The disciples had started out not feeling like five loaves and two fish would be enough. In the natural, it wasn’t enough to feed over 5,000 men, not to mention the women and children that were left unnumbered. Jesus just told them to seat the people.
Jesus took what was given. He blessed it. Then he broke it. Only then did He give it back to the disciples. When they finished feeding the people, there was a basket of broken pieces for each disciple.
That is a powerful picture to me. God asks us to do something that in the natural we have come to Him saying “do this”. He tells us “why don’t you meet the need?” We don’t think we have enough. We may think we don’t have the resources, the connections, the intelligence, or just in general what it will take.
Reluctantly we give Him what we have, all the while questioning how the desired outcome could ever be achieved. We are focused on the natural, not His Supernatural, even when we ask for His help. God takes what we give. It doesn’t matter how little, it is enough for Him. He blesses it.
Then He breaks it. I know in my own life when I give something to Him there is usually a breaking off process. He breaks off what I think I have, what I think I know, and often even what I think will happen. He shows me I am completely dependent upon Him. It is never in and of myself that things happen; it is because of Him. He blesses it and then He breaks it.
Then and only then does He give it back to me. He gives it back with the implied statement “It’s enough.” It doesn’t matter that nothing looks different in the natural other than it’s broken. He didn’t give the disciples 5,000 Long John Silver family meals when he handed it back. He gave back the five loaves and two fish to set before the crowd.
I don’t know about you, but for me having to go before the crown when I still don’t feel I have enough is intimidating. I can’t imagine all the hangry people. Most people can’t make it through a short church service, never mind walking to a service and being there all day! The disciples come before them with barely enough to feed one family, let alone 5,000 after getting them to all sit like a big meal is coming.
That’s God though. It takes all the steps of faith. Starting with asking for Him to do something and then giving Him the little we have. Followed by listening to His instructions and then trusting even when we don’t see any difference.
When we do our part we are often have more than we started with when all is said and done. When I think about the baskets, I realize that is not something they started with. They had to go get baskets after the steps of faith. Each one has something left in their hands after the need was met. Each one held the broken bread.
Each disciple was able to see what Jesus did. He provided for all the people – man, woman, and child. They saw the miracle. They experienced the provision. They saw it was enough.
Jesus is the Bread of Life. Although it seemed like it was not enough, when He said “It is finished.” at the cross; God responded with “It’s enough.” A perfect sacrifice, Jesus became the provision for all the people of the world. Much will be left over from His provision. Not everyone will accept it. Hell will hold the leftovers. Because of what Christ gave, we have the ability to know that whatever God brings us to, He will meet our questions with a request for what we have. Then He will break off what He needs to and instruct us what to do next. When we obey and walk in trust, with God we will find regardless of where we start, it’s enough.
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