Summary: There is power released from God through our willingness to give
The Power of Giving
August 14, 2011
"A man was packing a shipment of food contributed by a school for the poor people of Appalachia. He was separating beans from powdered milk, and canned vegetables from canned meats. Reaching into a box filled with various cans, he pulled out a little brown paper sack. Apparently one of the pupils had brought something different from the items on the suggested list. Out of the paper bag fell a peanut butter sandwich, an apple, and a cookie. Crayoned in large letters was a little girl’s name, ’Christy -- Room 104’. She had given up her lunch for some hungry person."
One little lunch made a difference. One little lunch touched lives
Our society seems to buy into the notion that bigger is always better. If a little is good, more is great. The church has bought into the same philosophy. The thought seems to be that the bigger church is the better church. The bigger church is the successful church. The bigger church is the model for us to follow. Does Jesus always use the biggest, the strongest or the greatest to accomplish His best work?
I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. C.S. Lewis.
There are several different kinds of giving that we focus on in the Kingdom of Christ:
Tithe: the first tenth of income that is given to the storehouse
Treasure: general offerings given after the tithe
Talent: those natural and spiritual gifts that God has blessed us with
Time: Personal investment into the kingdom of Christ
Think about some of the small things that God has used to do incredible things:
A small stone killed Goliath
Jesus chose twelve men to change the world
Jesus stilled the storm with a few words
Small things in the hands of Christ can accomplish amazing things. This morning I want to examine a familiar story and see how Jesus can use the small things of life to do great things
1 Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), 2 and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the miraculous signs he had performed on the sick. 3 Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. 4 The Jewish Passover Feast was near. 5 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?" 6 He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do. 7 Philip answered him, "Eight months' wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!" 8 Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, spoke up, 9 "Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?" 10 Jesus said, "Have the people sit down." There was plenty of grass in that place, and the men sat down, about five thousand of them. 11 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. 12 When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, "Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted." 13 So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten. 14 After the people saw the miraculous sign that Jesus did, they began to say, "Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world." 15 Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself. John 6:1-15
Jesus was being followed by large crowds for several reasons. Looking at a simple chronology of events in the ministry of Christ, here are just a few things that had already happened:
Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount
Jesus brought the widow’s son at Nain back to life
Jesus calmed the storm
Jesus cast demons into a herd of pigs
Jesus healed the woman with bleeding and restored Jairus’ daughter to life
Jesus had sent the 12 out on their first missionary journey
John the Baptist had been beheaded
John says that Jesus was performing signs, not miracles. The purpose for the language was to show that Jesus was doing miracles as signposts to revealing Himself as the Messiah.
The crowds were following Jesus wherever He went. Jesus crossed the Sea of Galilee to either spend time teaching the disciples, spend time in prayer or both. The point is that Jesus is interrupted by a massive crowd making their way to Him. As the crowd approaches an immediate problem arises, people need to eat.