Being Still and Satisfied by Little (Lent 37-2014)

SGL 37 On the hillside with my lunch

John 6: 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.”

What was Andrew thinking?  Jesus sees thousands of people coming, points them out to the disciples and inquires about feeding them.  Andrew offers “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish.”  Was the boy selling food or was that his lunch that Andrew was commandeering?

Philip (who came from nearby Bethsaida) saw what they didn’t have: enough food to feed everyone or even the resources to buy it.  Andrew saw what they did have: food, but not enough for more than a handful of people.

 [Jesus] asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do. (John 6:6)

Feeding that many people would be nothing short of a miracle.  Jesus saw that “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26).

Five thousand men were sitting in the green grass on the hillside and Jesus—the Good Shepherd–was going to provide for the flock and satisfy them.  Little is much when God is in it, as the hymn says.

Where are you when you’re at the end of your resources?  What do you do when your ministry or your life’s work seems insignificant?  Where do you turn when all you have is a little?

Be Still.  Here’s what to do: Psalm 107: 8 Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men, 9 for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.

Be Still.  God can multiply whatever is in your hands and make it sufficient and more than enough.

Be Still and Know that I AM God. I who called you will say of your faith, Matthew 25:23 ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

Be Still and Know that I AM God.  Deuteronomy 8:1 Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land that the LORD promised on oath to your forefathers. 2 Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. 3 He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. 4 Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years. 5 Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the LORD your God disciplines you. 6 Observe the commands of the LORD your God, walking in his ways and revering him. 7 For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land– a land with streams and pools of water, with springs flowing in the valleys and hills; 8 a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; 9 a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills. 10 When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you.

Questions for reflection:

  1. If we could satisfy every problem on our own, feeding the multitudes in our own strength, would we see God’s faithfulness as well?  If the Israelites always had plenty of bread, would manna have been as meaningful?
  2. Sometimes God wants us to bring what we have that is too little (e.g.time, money, food, energy, patience, hope, etc.) and by bringing it to Him, see that He doesn’t waste anything in our life experiences.  He can multiply what is small and bring enough out of nothing.  What do you have that you could offer to Him today for His multiplication and use?
  3. The lyrics to the hymn Little is Much when God is in It follow.  Let these words minister to you today.

 Little is Much when God is in It

In the harvest field now ripened
There’s a work for all to do;
Hark! the voice of God is calling
To the harvest calling you.


Little is much when God is in it!
Labor not for wealth or fame.
There’s a crown—and you can win it,
If you go in Jesus’ Name.

In the mad rush of the broad way,
In the hurry and the strife,
Tell of Jesus’ love and mercy,
Give to them the Word of Life.


Does the place you’re called to labor
Seem too small and little known?
It is great if God is in it,
And He’ll not forget His own.


Are you laid aside from service,
Body worn from toil and care?
You can still be in the battle,
In the sacred place of prayer.


When the conflict here is ended
And our race on earth is run,
He will say, if we are faithful,
“Welcome home, My child—well done!”


Categories Articles and Devotionals, Devotionals | Tags: | Posted on April 16, 2014

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