Matthew 14:16 Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”
This is an extremely famous story, but this little detail is sometimes overlooked. Jesus didn’t say, “I’ll give them something to eat,” His said, “You give them something to eat.” That was patently impossible, but when the disciples surrendered what they had – five loaves and two fish – to Jesus, He returned it to them multiplied for them to give it to the people. So it was indeed the disciples who gave the food to the people, rather than Jesus directly, but the supply wasn’t there until they surrendered all they had to Jesus. We tend to think of God’s supply as being like winning the lottery, when far more often it’s a matter of His making what we give to Him go far further than we could have imagined. It’s quite probable that the disciples had been worried about what they themselves would eat, but considering how many baskets of leftovers they gathered, there’s no question they were filled as well. This is actually a very practical demonstration of what Jesus had said not so long before this: “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33) The disciples needed food, but when they placed obedience to Jesus ahead of their perceived needs, not only were their needs met, they saw a notable miracle. When we hold things back from God they wither, dry up, and blow away. When we give them to Him, they are invigorated and multiplied with His life and many are blessed.
This is something I’ve learned from experience as well as from the Bible, but I find real resistance to it in many people – and I can’t say I’ve been consistent in following it myself. I have a lot of trouble with preachers who tell people to give them all they have so that God will multiply it. If God is telling you to empty your wallet into the offering, by all means do it, but I have strong doubts about people who tell others to do that. I have sought to be faithful in my own stewardship for many years now, but as a pastor I am also responsible for encouraging such faithfulness in others. When I receive a percentage of what is given, that can be awkward indeed. Awkward or not, it needs to be done. I have seen too many people who have essentially shut off the flow of God’s supply for themselves by failing to trust Him enough to let that supply flow through them to others. I have found that this principle applies to far more than finances. When I allow God to speak through me to others, I never lack for hearing Him speak to me. I don’t think that would be the case if I refused to share. I am to recognize God’s supply to me and realize that I am no more than a transit point, and allow Him to pour that supply through me as He sees fit, for His glory.
Father, thank You for this reminder. I do pray for an infusion of faith in each of the believers here, so that they may experience Your limitless supply in every area they need it, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!