In John 6, Jesus is teaching a massive crowd, and meal time arrives. But it looks hopeless. It was too late, and would be too expensive, to run to the town/store to feed such a large group.
This happens in our home from time to time.
I always think of Sally Clarkson, who said something like this:
“I have all these people, and (can you believe it?) they all want to eat…. every day!!” 🙂~Sally Clarkson
Meal planning is a continual hurdle every mom faces. And sometimes, we get to 5pm and still don’t have a good plan. While very few of us face actual bare cupboards, our ideas, energy, and easy meal options run low and we feel bowled over by the perpetual requirement for food.
But what happens way MORE frequently is that I feel spiritually incapable of offering our children anything of substance.
My reserves feel like they are at “E” for empty.
My patience is worn thin, my anger is one misstep away, and these children have stepped on every last nerve multiple times throughout the day.
It seems like there’s nothing left in the pantry.
And even worse than the feeling that I *can’t* is the feeling that I just don’t want to anymore. When the reserves are low, hope easily bottoms out as well.
I can feel like Andrew:
“Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up. “There’s a young boy here with five barley loaves and two fish. But what good is that with this huge crowd?” ”John 6:8-9
And it’s there, right there with the little bit, where God works.
I’ve got this little bit, Lord. Only this little bit– it looks inconsequential compared to the task.
What we have to offer, especially when we’re postpartum, post-late-night-talking-to-teens, post-argument, post-disappointing-bank-statement, post-gossiped-about, post-vomit-virus, post-all-day-tantrums … looks too small.
Let’s be honest: in moments like that, we feel like we have nothing left.
But to Andrew and the disciples, He made it clear:
What looks impossible, isn’t..
What looks abysmal, isn’t.
What looks hopeless, isn’t.
What looks like “not enough,” isn’t.
What looks like it’s pointless to even offer, isn’t.
Bring what little you have…
… your fish and loaves
… your 2 mites
… your not-enough…
He can do with it, what you never could.
He can make beauty out of your ashes.
He can make streams appear in deserts.
He can make life out of your lifelessness.
He’s a resource-multiplying, life-giving God and those times when we have nothing to bring to the table is when He can show you His might.
“We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”2 Chronicles 20:12
The hard part is keeping our eyes open, in faith. Not squinting them shut because we feel so scared. Tired of the fight. Certain nothing’s gonna come from all this work we’ve put in. Nervous. Hopeless. Bitter. Weighed down. Weary.
When you can’t do anything else, just keep your eyes open and fix them on the Creator of all the universe. Keep leaning in. Pay attention. Watch for God’s work. Don’t discount that little bit of “nothing” you have. Offer it up, like the widow with her seemingly-inconsequential mites, and see what He’ll do with it.
When you feel that you can’t do anything at all, He still can.
And He will. Just watch.
2 thoughts on ““What Good is That with This Huge Crowd?””
Excellent word and encouragement!
Thank you; you’ve said it perfectly! I can so identify with “nothing left in the pantry” and the “disappointing bank statement” especially. Yet by offering to share what we do have, He uses it to bless others who are also needy in a different way…….what a mighty God who gives abundant grace beyond what we can ask or think.