Little is Much
A few years ago, after I'd just finished teaching a 4-day Lay Teachers’ Practicum, a refresher type course for lay teachers, at my local church, in my last charge to the students, I told the students to take their teaching gifts seriously (especially those who have a teaching gift), and to trust the gift and He who placed the gift in them. That is, they should not belittle the gift or be scared to use the gift because they think that it’s insignificant. But rather to yield the gift to God, and let Him multiply it or make it great.
To express my point, I used the story in Luke 9, about Jesus feeding the 5,000. In that story, when Jesus asked the disciples to give the weary crowd something to eat, His disciples told Him that they didn’t have anything to feed the people. According to them, all they had were five loaves and two fish. To the disciples, what are five loaves and two fish to a multitude of people?
When the day began to wear away, the twelve came and said to Him, "Send the multitude away, that they may go into the surrounding towns and country, and lodge and get provisions; for we are in a deserted place here." But He said to them, "You give them something to eat."
And they said, "We have no more than five loaves and two fish, unless we go and buy food for all these people." Luke 9:12-13
What the disciples didn’t realize, however, is that Jesus could feed a multitude with just five loaves and two fish. That Jesus could bless the five loaves and two fish, and multiply it. They failed to realize that with God, "Little is much!" And that God didn’t need a whole lot to get His will done. With God, it’s not about quantity but quality!
The same can be said of us, about the functional or spiritual gift that God has placed in us. When God asks us to do something that involves using our gift to ‘feed’ the people, our initial reaction is to consider the size or quantity of our gift in proportion to the size of the people He wants us to feed. So, our usual response is to say that we do not have enough to feed the people; which is true.
But God is not asking us to take inventory of our gift to see if it’s enough to do what He is asking us to do. All He is asking us to do is place the gift in His hands for Him to bless and multiply to "feed" the people. Therefore, our job is to place the gift in His hands, His job is to make sure that it’s more than enough to feed the people!
Neither is He asking us to just assess the situation, like the disciples did. For instance, the disciples correctly identified the need – no food for the people. But what they considered to be "taking care of the problem" was sending the people away to get food themselves. But Jesus told them, "You feed them."
Like the disciples, we are quick to correctly identify a need. But that’s all we want to do – identify needs. But what the Lord is saying is that, "You do something about it!" Don’t just identify the need.
After all, God is not going to ask you to defer to someone else, what He’s asked you do! If the Lord asks you to do it, certainly you are the one for the task. Like Nathan told David when he confronted him about his adultery with Bathsheba, "…You are the man!" (2 Samuel 12:6).
Now to the disciples’ credit, they did not only identify the need, but they also identified what they had – five loaves and two fish. They could have kept the five loaves and two fish to themselves, and the people could have gone home hungry. But they didn’t. Rather, they told Jesus how much food they had, and trusted Him enough to hand it over to Him to do whatever He wanted to do with it.
So are we to give our functional or spiritual gifts over to Jesus, and let Him bless and multiply it to ‘feed’ however many people He wants to feed with it. It’s not for us to try to determine what the gift can or cannot do. Or how many people it can or cannot feed.
All the Lord is saying to us is, "Bring me your five loaves and two fish, and let Me feed multitudes with it." All the Lord is saying is, "Yes, your little is nothing in and of itself. Yes, your gift is small compared to the number of people I want you to feed with it, but with Me, your "Little is much!"
Now, the question is, "What are you going to do? Feed the people or let them go hungry?"