Have you ever felt that you had nothing to give? That you couldn’t offer anything meaningful or wise? Like you barely had the energy to do the basics for yourself, and no way you could do anything for anyone else? Like you had no skills, no experience, no knowledge that could make a difference? Have you ever felt like you had nothing?

Sometimes life leaves us feeling like this … tired … drained … over it! Many of us have felt this way, thanks to COVID-19. Many of us have felt this way due to pressure from others, and sometimes even due to pressure we place on ourselves.

In Mark 6:30-44, the feeding of the 5,000, we find Jesus’ disciples feeling under pressure to give, but they couldn’t. They had nothing. You see, a large crowd had gathered. They wanted to hear Jesus and so Jesus taught. The people listened, the time flew by and before the disciples knew it, the day was nearly over. The people were hungry and the place was remote.

The troubled disciples suggested that they send the crowd off to nearby villages to buy some food, but Jesus didn’t like that approach. Jesus said to his disciples, “You give them something to eat” (6:37).

What an unhelpful response! With what, Jesus? How on earth were the disciples supposed to feed the crowd, which was huge, by the way—5,000 men, plus women and children. There were no coffee carts hidden out of sight, no drive-through take-aways or supermarkets around the corner.

The disciples had nothing.

Loaves and Fishes

We know the disciples had no physical resources on them that they could share, as just prior to these verses, Jesus had sent the disciples out in pairs into the nearby villages. When he sent them off, he specifically told them to take nothing—no bread, no money, not even a spare shirt!

So they had nothing physical they could give, but not only that, just before Jesus started teaching the crowd, he was in the middle of taking the disciples away to a quiet spot so that they could get some rest. Mark tells us that they hadn’t even had the chance to eat.

They were tired. They were hungry. They had nothing left for themselves, let alone anything to give anyone else.

Yet Jesus asked them to feed the crowd.

What could they possibly do to feed this huge crowd? It would have been easy for the disciples to give up at this point.

Jesus can do amazing things when we give him our puny little offerings—when we give him our “nothing.”

But they didn’t. Instead, they took stock of what they did have. It seemed like nothing, but they discovered that they did have five loaves and two fishes—hardly worth even mentioning. That wouldn’t feed one family, let alone a crowd of thousands. But thanks to the boy who gave up his picnic lunch, the disciples were at least able to offer Jesus that puny little offering.

Five loaves, two fish, that was it.

From Nothing to Something

But Jesus can do amazing things when we give him our puny little offerings—when we give him our “nothing.” In his hands, “nothing” can become “something.” “Nothing” can go a long way. “Nothing” can impact people way beyond what we can imagine.

In the United States, in 1952, five women approached Audrey Wetherell Johnson and asked her if she would teach them the Bible. She said yes. That was a small yes. Nothing too significant about it. But in God’s hands that offering given to him became something amazing. Millions of people all around the globe, including myself, have had their lives changed by being part of the Bible study classes that grew out of that small thing offered to God. Today, every week, Miss Johnson’s Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) runs thousands of in-depth Bible study classes in 140 countries. Wow!

God took Miss Johnson’s small offering … he multiplied it.

Jesus took the small picnic … he multiplied it.

He took the bread, blessed the bread, broke the bread and then he enabled it to go further and feed more people than the disciples could have ever imagined. In fact, it went so far that after everyone had eaten all they wanted, there were 12 basketfuls left over!

Our Small Offerings

God can take our small offerings and do things with them that we could never imagine. We may feel like we have nothing, but instead of giving up, let’s check out what we do have. Maybe it’s not great skills, maybe it’s not loads of time and energy, maybe it’s not physical resources. But what do we have?

Maybe it’s just our story—the things we’ve learned (possibly the hard way) through our lives.

Maybe it’s just a small idea—one that seems quite ridiculous.

Maybe it’s just ourselves—as we are, messy and broken.

You do have something.

It may seem small. It may seem so insignificant that it’s not even worth offering, but that is not the case. When we place those small somethings in the hands of God, who knows what amazing things he will do?

Reprinted from WarCry (New Zealand, Fiji, Tonga and Samoa Territory).

Photo: Aaron Kitzo/Lightstock.com


On Thursday, January 19, 2023, Femi Faronbi said:

Powerful! Blessed reading this. I celebrate you

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