Summary: This message unpacks 8 things we can do to help God to bring the "miracle of the loaves" into our financial lives.
“God is asking something from us financially that we don’t have the ability to fulfill.”
- v. 37.
- The disciples are asked to fulfill a request that requires financial resources they do not seem to have available.
- Often, “not enough money” is the end of the story, whether it is concerning a Christian (in tithing to their church or perhaps giving to a particular missionary or ministry or need) or a church (in boldly pursuing a dynamic (and expensive) new ministry or in increasing the amount of the budget given away). Too often, “there’s just not enough money” is the beginning and end of the discussion. This passage reminds us that seeming to lack the funds is not necessarily a sign that we aren’t supposed to pursue that path.
- We have been called to do more than we are able to do by ourselves. We must learn again that God’s provision usually begins at the point of our inadequacy.
Why Does God Do That To Us?
1. It pushes us to greater depths of trust.
2. It gives us the joy of participating in the blessing.
How Do We Do This In Our Situation?
1. Start with what you do have.
- v. 38.
- We’ll talk about what we would give if we won the lottery or suddenly inherited a million, but God is ready to use you right now. It may be that you don’t make a lot of money or have much in assets - that’s ok, God still wants to us you.
2. Know that you don’t have to fill everyone’s need.
- vv. 39-40.
- Looking at this crowd of perhaps 20,000 people (a ballpark figure off the 5,000 men we do know were there), the need was overwhelming. One of the nice, small details of this story is that Jesus has the disciples break the crowd up into smaller, more manageable groups. None of the disciples would be responsible for the entire crowd - one would start in this direction, another over here, still another down this way. Each would certainly do more than they ever anticipated they would be able to, but none had to serve the whole crowd.
- In our lives, we balk at the seemingly endless stream of needs that are present in our society. Why bother starting when there are so many that need touched? We too need to realize that God is in charge of the big picture and we are responsible for those that we find in front of us. As other Christians, other churches, and other ministries go in “their direction,” it’ll be amazing how many people are touched.
3. Give everything to Jesus.
- v. 41 - “And when He had taken the five loaves and two fish. . .”
- Could Jesus have done the miracle with just a crumb? Absolutely, but he took everything that they had. In our lives, we must come to the understanding in our financial lives that everything we have belongs to God. Not that 90% is our’s and 10% is God’s - everything that we own belongs to God. In His generosity, He provides for our needs and our “daily bread.” We thank Him for that and understand that we are stewards of the money that He has entrusted to us. I do not, of course, mean that we give away 100% of our income (unless God would direct you to), but that even what we keep to pay our bills belongs to Him. He is “Lord of our checkbook.” We have told Him, “Father, I recognize that You have the right to do anything You want with the money I have in the bank because it really all belongs to You.”
4. Talk to the Father about your money.
- v. 41 - “. . . He looked up to heaven. . .”
- Understanding the Lordship of Jesus over our money, we then need to begin to consult the Father about our finances. As Jesus takes the bread, His eyes first look toward God. As we think about the use of our money, our eyes should first look toward God.
5. Seek Jesus’ blessing on your money.
- v. 41 - “. . . blessed it. . .”
- The Greek word that is used here for “blessing” is “eulogeo,” which means “to speak well of.” As we talk to the Father about our money, we acknowledge that we want to use it in a way that Jesus will “speak well of,” in a way that Jesus is ready and willing to bless. Of course, a key to our money having a dynamic and extensive impact is that Jesus chooses to bless it and so it’s impact is multiplied.
6. Expect brokenness.