Its late at night where I am, and I have to go to work tomorrow, but I want to briefly write about something which I hope will be of benefit to others in the future.
I want to speak about the miracle of multiplication.
Its interesting that God always seems to start small. He only made two humans at the beginning, and during the Great Flood, he arranged for just two animals of each kind to come into the ark, so that the earth would be repopulated.
When Jesus came to earth, He came in Mary’s womb first of all! What a small beginning for the Son of God!
The church was born with a few men and women gathered in an upper room, praying. It has grown since that time, through multiplication.
At times we are faced with tremendous needs and challenges. If we were to merely ADD solutions to the problems faced, we would never be able to overcome them all. The needs are vast, but God is greater than all these things. Yet God has chosen to work through the kind of fruit which contains in itself the seeds of further multiplication.
In the story of the feeding of the five thousand, we see God at work through Jesus to meet the needs of an assembled audience. Today when we have large conferences we send people off to the local restaurants in order to cater to their need for food, but when Jesus ministered out in the remote places there were no nearby restaurants.
You can read the story in Matthew 15:14-21.
Jesus and his disciples fed the multitude using 5 loaves and 2 fishes. It is worthy of note that Jesus started with something that the people already had. You could say that what they had was not much for so many people. You could say that God could have just created food out of nothing. But the story unfolds in a way that shows how God works – it reveals something of the ways of God. Its interesting that the pattern in this story is repeated several times in the New Testament. One of these times is at the Last Supper.
To meet a great need, God always starts with what we have. Its easy to despise the small resources that we have many times when we start on a project for God, but God usually begins with such small things. The key is to surrender what he have into the hands of the Lord.
The boy who brought the five loaves and two fishes to Jesus had more than enough for himself, but not enough for the needs of the multitude. So it is many times with us.
I look at my own situation, and the scope of vision that I have received from the Lord and the sense of call that I have in my heart. Sometimes I feel like the disciples to whom Jesus said, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat”.
Perhaps you feel the same way also about your own call. You know that what you are called to do requires far more than what you currently have in your hands. But really, this is no obstacle to God. What God is looking for is people who will take the first step, and surrender what they have to Him.
The boy in the story had to be willing to give up his lunch, and put it in the hands of Jesus. I suppose he might have kept in for himself, but then he never would have been involved in the miracle.
God has a plan for your life to make you a blessing to multitudes. To fulfil that plan, the first thing you need to do is to surrender yourself to God.
Surrendering to God goes against our carnal nature. Something in our very nature rebels against the idea of fully trusting God. But really, such a thought is not logical. If God was evil, He could easily force us to give Him our wills and mock us. But He never does that. He made us with the capacity to give ourselves to Him, but He never obliges us to do so by force.
There is an unfolding of the goodness of God that is only known by those who give what they have, including their own lives, to God.
What does God do with our lives once we give them to Him? He does the same as He did with those five loaves and two fish. “He blessed them”.
When you give your life to God, He will bless your life. Whether it be in healing, or deliverance, or in restoration of relationships, or in some other way, God will definitely bless your life. And whatever you give to God from a pure heart, God will bless. Sometimes we give God so little of what we have, and yet look at the amazing things God is able to do with what He receives from our hands! Hopefully we can be encouraged by this to more fully trust God.
There is a lot on this site about how to receive blessings from God, and its an important topic.
However, God has much more in mind for your life than for you to be blessed. It doesn’t take a great person to “be blessed”. There are lots of different ways a person can be blessed, but its a far more important and bigger thing to “be a blessing”.
No matter how blessed those 5 loaves and 2 fish were, they were not going to be a blessing until the next phase of the process was complete.
And this is the part of the process that for us is often the most painful.
This is the part where it says, “He broke them”.
Until the loaves and fish were broken, they were never going to multiply under the hands of Jesus. In the same way, God will lead us into situations and places where our own self will is going to be broken. We have to learn to be obedient to God, to do His will, to be shaped and molded and conformed to His nature, which is the nature of Christ. The Bible says that we are predestined to be conformed to the nature of Jesus Christ.
Think about Jesus, how He was and is. He so much gave Himself for others. But His ultimate giving of Himself could not happen until His own body was broken on the cross. The real life of Jesus could not come to us until the blood of the Son of God was spilled in our place. Until there was a payment for sin, mankind would always be divided from God by a terrible wall of condemnation, hostility and alienation. Only God could break through that wall, and He did so by the spilling of His own blood, and the breaking of His own body. Nothing less than that would suffice. Nothing less than that could enable the impartation of the Life of God to the soul and spirit of man.
Just as Jesus went through this process for us, so we will go through it that we might be conformed to the image of Jesus, and become a blessing for others.
The breaking phase in our lives can occur on multiple occasions, and it happens usually through suffering. It is through pain and suffering that we learn obedience to God. We don’t like it. It is inconvenient. It hurts. But it transforms us from being selfish shallow people interested merely in our own gratification, to mature, caring people who are a blessing for others. We have enough people in this world who are simply concerned with their own physical, sexual and social gratification. The world is full of people who are looking for sexual fulfillment and a sense of importance, and little else. Such people can easily be seduced into evil, because there is no stronger principle at work in their lives than what tends to the gratification of these things, even though it may be at the cost of others. People commit adultery, murder, reject truth, use lies and steal because they are not filled with the Love of God.
God has to break us, even as Christians, before we are really able to reflect His glory fully. Its a painful thing, but very necessary. God does not do it to hurt us, neither is He indifferent to us. But He has a plan for us which is bigger than what we are probably personally comfortable with. To make us into the kind of people we need to be, we have to go through crisis and suffering at certain seasons in our lives.
Thank God it doesn’t end there. After the breaking, comes the giving. The bread and fish that was broken was given out to meet the needs of the people, and kept multiplying. And I believe that for us, our highest fulfillment comes in being like God, being like Jesus, and being given out for the needs of others. It is great that God wants to elevate us to such a high place. He wants to put something of his own noble character in us. And faithful is He who called us, who also will do it.
To be continued …