Summary: The lessons behind a less well-known miraculous feeding.
A TWOFOLD STEWARDSHIP
A certain man brought to Elisha a portion of the first-fruits of his land (2 Kings 4:42). It is not clear whether this was an offering over and above that required by the law (Leviticus 23:9-14), but either way this was a token of good stewardship on the part of the unknown man. Sometimes we might consider giving of our gifts and offerings to other worthy Christian causes, as well as to our local church.
Elisha, like Jesus after him, ‘had compassion upon the multitude’ (cf. Mark 6:34). “Give unto the people, that they may eat,” commanded the man of God (2 Kings 4:42). In this we see a second act of stewardship: this time by Elisha, who received the gift and used it wisely in the service of the people.
Elisha’s servant served as a foil to his master, highlighting the apparent impossibility of what Elisha was commanding (2 Kings 4:43). Yet with God, we are constantly reminded, all things are possible (Mark 10:27). Nothing is impossible with God, for no word of God will ever fail (Luke 1:37).
Philip is cast in a similar role to Elisha’s servant in John’s account of Jesus’ feeding of the 5000 (John 6:7). Andrew was a bit more proactive, but even he had his doubts (John 6:8-9). What are our small offerings in the midst of the overwhelming needs of the world?
‘Bring it to me,’ instructed Jesus. He took, He blessed, and He broke; and gave it to His disciples to distribute (Matthew 14:18-19). The disciples brought to the Lord what they could, and he entrusted it back into their hands for the distribution.
“Give it to them,” reiterated Elisha (2 Kings 4:43). After all, the LORD had said that the table would be furnished, all would eat, and there would be some left over. Elisha was speaking in faith, and expected those who heard the word of the LORD from him to obey.
‘Seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness,’ says Jesus: ‘and all these things shall be added to you’ (Matthew 6:33). What things? What we shall eat, what we shall drink, and what we shall wear (Matthew 6:31): the ordinary things of life.
Do we have faith in the word of the LORD? Do we share the testimony of the Psalmist who says, ‘I shall not want’ or 'I lack nothing' (Psalm 23:1)? Then surely obedience will follow close on the heels of this profession.
When we exercise faith, take what we have, and use it for the glory of the Lord, we experience God’s superabundant provision (2 Kings 4:44). It is in the context of our giving that ‘God shall supply all our needs’ (Philippians 4:18-19). This might be deemed as part of the reward of faith: but the greatest reward is God Himself (Genesis 15:1).