Summary: A sermon based on the story of the fishes and the loaves, noting principles about the way Jesus multiplies things in our world.
PRINCIPLES OF MULTIPLICATION
School days, school days. Dear old golden rule days
Readin' and 'ritin' and 'rithmetic. Taught to the tune of the hickory stick
We do not use hickory sticks in schools today. But school was not that way when Gus Edwards and Will D. Cobb composed that little tune in 1907. Much has changed in our methods of education.
When I was in primary school, one of the core requirements was memorizing our multiplication tables. Today, easy access to calculators, computers, and other gadgets make mastering our multiplication tables a less emphasized discipline.
Through multiplication, you can start with a small number and be at a big number pretty rapidly. The classic example is someone willing to pay you a penny for the first day’s work and double the amount every day for 30 days. On Day 30 you will receive $5,368,709.12 and have a cumulative total of $10,737,418.23
A multiplication story of almost equal amazement is the miracle of Jesus feeding the 5000 where Jesus multiplied five loaves and two fish into enough food to feed a multitude. While the story is told in all four gospels, our scripture this morning is from John’s gospel.
Read John 6:1-15
You may know that in Jewish culture, the way they counted crowds is they counted men. This could be the largest crowd Jesus ever spoke to. 5,000 men, it's counting families. So, there were about 5,000 families. So there were probably somewhere in between 15,000 to 20,000 people fed that day.
While this is a familiar story, lets look at some principles that Jesus used in this miracle of multiplication.
YOU HAVE TO START WITH SOMETHING TO MULTIPLY
When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do. John 6:5-6 NIV
In a multiplication formula, the two items being multiplied are called Factors and the result of their multiplication is called the Product. When one of the Factors is Zero, the product will always be Zero. Zero multiplied by one is Zero. Zero multiplied by a million equals Zero
The disciples thought they had nothing or next to nothing. But what Jesus can do even with something small. And the truth is, we have something. In fact we have plenty. God has seen to it by His blessings. We sing the Doxology that affirms: Praise God from whom ALL blessings flow. We have financial blessings, material blessing, talents, time, abilities, and spiritual blessings. The letter of James tells us that Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17 NIV
You may not think you have much, but you do. According to the website, www.globalrichlist.com, if you make $25,000.00 per year, you are among the richest 10% of the world. And if you make more than $50,000.00 per year, you are among the richest 1% in the world.
God has blessed us with something with which he can start. And He does not ask for what you do not have. But he will ask what you do have.
THINGS TEND TO MULTIPLY AFTER THEMSELVES
In the story, bread and fish are multiplied into bread and fish. Granted, as creator, Jesus can change anything into anything he wants, like He did when he turned water into wine. But it is more common that things multiply after themselves.
If you exercise the muscles you have, the result is greater muscles.
If you pour yourself into your studies, the result will be greater knowledge.
If you exercise your voice in song, in time you will be a better singer.
If you teach, your teachings skills will improve.
Put a boy and a girl rabbit together and pretty soon you will have a multitude of rabbits.
Apples bear more apples.
Plant corn seed and corn will grow.
Jesus said, Give, and it will be given to you. (now here is the multiplication) A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:38
Circle the word “it”. What is “it”? “It” corresponds with what you give. It will tend to multiply after itself. In the Parable of the Talents, the three servants were entrusted with sums of money. The good servants returned to the master more of what he had entrusted to them.
IT HAS TO BE BLESSED TO MULTIPLY
Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. John 6:11 NIV