When You Only Have Little To Give

The Bible never tells us his name. We don’t know much about him or his family. We just know that he offered what he had and Jesus was able to use it.

All of the gospels record Jesus’ miracle of feeding the 5’000. But only John tells us in John 6:8-9 that the food came from a young boy. Jesus had been teaching all day and the people had been listening but suddenly they realized the hour was late and no one had brought food. Jesus had compassion and told his disciples to feed the people. Where were they supposed to get food? Andrew stepped forward with a few small pieces of bread and fish from a boy. But even Andrew didn’t see how such a small amount could satisfy anyone. “What are they for so many?”

Jesus commanded everyone to sit down, he prayed over the small meal and they began to distribute it. And everyone was fed. The little boy’s lunch was all that Jesus needed to do his work.

There are a number of theological points in this story. The miracle of feeding that multitude was a sign that Jesus was the Messiah. Yet the passage speaks to me in a more personal way – Jesus can use what I have to offer him, no matter how small my offering is.

When I was younger and bolder, I felt that I had a lot to offer God. I was well educated, had a variety of skills and was full of enthusiasm and vision. God was blessed to have me on his side. Or so I thought. I confess that as I get older, I’m not so sure that I have that much to offer. What I thought would be needed and helpful to God hasn’t been so useful. What I thought would be impressive has become rather shallow. I am coming to realize that God does his best work through the small and weak. Jesus takes our bread crumbs and pieces of fish and uses it for his glory. In our weaknesses he shows himself strong. With food for a small child he feeds a crowd. It’s his work and not mine.

My abilities and talents are not nearly as important as my availability and willingness to let him work through me as he sees fit. I sometimes feel embarrassed when I come to him and say, “This is all I have today, some bread and a little fish.” But those are the days when he shows himself strongest and most able. Those are the days when I get out of the way and let him work. John the Baptist said it best when he said, “He must increase and I must decrease.” Offer him what you have and let him do the rest.