Summary: The first os stewardship series: the gift of time. Based on the Feeding of the Five Thousand. What we give to Jesus, He multiplies to a great blessing - for us and for others.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, which of the “What’s in your wallet?” commercial is your favorite? Mine is probably the one with the attacking Vikings. What’s in your wallet?
There is a familiar story in the Bible where the question could have been re-phrased to “What’s in your basket?” It was an account so momentous that it is recorded in all four Gospels – The Feeding of the Five Thousand.
People were drawn to Jesus. They wanted to hear His words, they wanted to be healed by Him, they just wanted to be in His presence. One time Jesus and His disciples wanted to get away and rest awhile in a remote area across the Sea of Galilee, but the people saw them and ran there on foot.
Jesus had compassion for the crowds for to Him they were like sheep without a shepherd. So, He taught them many things. It was getting late in the day and the disciples urged Jesus to send them away so they can buy some food in the nearby towns.
Jesus shocked them by saying You give them something to eat! Phillip quickly surveyed the multitude and answered, “Eight months’ wages would not buy enough food for each to have a little bite!” Interesting calculation. Phillip was able to translate the need into a cost. Eight months’ wages – 200 denarii. Why is this significant? Because Jesus, a traveling preacher, and His mostly fishermen friends, would not have that kind of money anyway. It is doubtful there was 20 denarri among them, let alone 200.
Besides, the nearest towns were small. There was no Costco or Sam’s Club. I read somewhere that 200 denarii would have bought 4,800 quarts of barley or 1,600 quarts of wheat. But where?
So, the disciples were immediately faced with the logistic impossibility of this assignment.
Well, Christ had it all worked out already. Does that ever happen to us? Aren’t there times when we only focus on what we can’t do without allowing for what God can do? One of the biggest mistakes mission congregations make is building their new sanctuary too small. Why? Because they are afraid of a larger mortgage. Then, a few years later, they have to expand and it costs them twice as much.
Jesus already had a plan. He told the disciples to go out among the people and find out what they had. Doesn’t that remind you of the preacher who told his congregation, “I have a good news and a bad news. We have enough money for our building project. The bad news is – it is still in your wallets.”
Now another interesting character enters the scene – Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. What so exciting about Andrew is that whenever his name is mentioned in the Bible, he is bringing somebody to Jesus. Wouldn’t it be great, whenever our name is mentioned, we would be bringing someone to Jesus too?
Well, this time Andrew brought a young boy to Jesus. The boy is carrying a basket with five loaves of barley pita bread and two small pickled fish. This boy is the unsung hero of this story! This was the original Boy Scout. “Be Prepared!” He was prepared. He was the only one who brought provisions with him. This kid was not about to go hungry. And what is even more remarkable about this boy – he did not hoard his food! He was so excited about meeting Jesus that he gladly gave Him all he had.