Summary: 7th in the series "Miracles in Matthew." The feeding of the multitude teaches us how we can be a part of God’s miraculous work.
Hattie May Wiatt lived near a church where the Sunday School was very crowded, one day the pastor, Russel Conwell found her crying outside the building because there was no room inside and he told her that one day when they had raised enough money they would have buildings big enough to allow every one to attend who wanted to.
Not long after that Hattie May became sick and died. Rev. Conwell was asked to do the funeral and the girl’s mother told him that Hattie May had been saving money to help build a bigger church and gave him the little purse in which she had saved 57 cents. This was in 1886 when 57 cents was no small savings account for a little girl from a poor family.
Rev. Conwell had the 57 cents turned into 57 pennies, told the congregation the story of little Hattie May and sold the pennies for a return of about $250. In addition, 54 of the original 57 pennies were returned to Rev. Conwell and he later put them up on display. Some of the members of the church formed what they called the Wiatt Mite Society which was dedicated to making Hattie May’s 57 cents grow as much as possible and to buy the property for the Primary Department of the Sunday school. A house nearby was purchased with the $250 that Hattie May’s 57 cents had produced. The first classes of Temple College, later Temple University, were held in that house. It was later sold to allow Temple College to move and the growth of Temple, along with the founding of the Good Samaritan Hospital (Now the Temple University Hospital) along with the 3500 seat auditorium of Temple Baptist Church serve as powerful testimonies to the leadership of a a little girl named Hattie May. (Truthorfiction.com)
The story of Hattie May proves a point the disciples learned in our scripture this morning. It doesn’t matter what you’ve got, it matters who you know.
Until now our study of Miracles in Matthew has led us to consider how we should approach the Lord with our own needs—to put it bluntly—how to get some o’ those miracles for ourselves. And that’s OK, but this morning we consider instead how we might become a part of one of the Lord’s Miracles, just like the disciples in our story today.
If we want to be part of a miracle we must…
1. Come to Jesus With the Problem
15As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, "This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food."
The disciples see the problem—too many people, not enough food. So they go to Jesus. That was the right move.
A father watched out the kitchen window as his 7 year old son played in the backyard sand box. He watched him moving several large rocks out of the sandbox.
There was one very big rock that was giving his little boy a great deal of trouble. He watched his son move the rock to the edge of the sandbox, but each time it looked like he would be over to move the rock over the side of the sandbox, the rock would fall back into the sandbox. The last time it fell, it pinched one of his little fingers. The father walked out to his tearful son and asked him what was the matter. His son told him all about the heavy rock in the sandbox. The father asked, "Why didn’t you use all the strenght you had?" The little boy replied, "I did dad, I did." The father responded, "No son, you didn’t ask your dad." And with that the father reached down and together he and his son removed the rock from the sandbox.
So often we forget this crucial step. Going to Jesus. Like the boy in the sandbox we struggle with the immovable object in our own strength, forgetting our most important resource is Jesus.
I love the quote from E. M. Bounds. “We say there is nothing left to do but pray, as if that were a pitiful last resort. So long as we can worry and fret and be busy, that’s fine but Oh, my when there’s only prayer left…” Prayer is our greates resource. When we see a need our first response should be to bring it to Jesus.
2. Be Willing to Change Your Plan
16Jesus replied, "They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat."
17"We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish," they answered.
The Disciples know how to do math. They’ve figured this out. Five loaves & two fish divided by 5,000 people equals a problem. So they’ve come up with a soloution—send the people to go get food.