It’s Not About What You Can Do
God Can Make Abundance From Nothing
By Beth Demme
I know you know the story. The story of the Feeding of the Five Thousand.
Jesus wanted a little peace and quiet to mourn the death of John the Baptist. He tried to go off by himself, but the crowds followed him. Jesus put his need for time and space to grieve on the back burner. Compelled by compassion for others, he chose to care for the people in the crowd.
Jesus spent the day healing people. At the end of the day, the disciples knew the people needed to eat. They told Jesus to send everyone home. The disciples wanted the people to be self-sufficient, to feed themselves.
But Jesus tells the disciples he’s not going to send the people home.
He says, “the crowd can stay, you give them something to eat.” The disciples respond, probably with a tinge of disbelief, “we have nothing except five loaves and two fish.”
I always picture this scene with an almost cartoonish exaggeration. The disciples stand with their shoulders and their eyebrows raised, the pockets of their tunics are turned inside out, they hold out their hands, and they say, “But, Jesus, we’ve got nothing for them.”
Maybe their reaction was more reserved, more subtle. Maybe even a little regretful. “Sorry, Jesus, we didn’t bring any food. There isn’t enough. We have nothing we can give these people.”
We all feel that way sometimes like we have nothing left to give—whether it’s money, time, gifts, abilities—whatever it is, we feel like we have nothing God can use.
But our God is the Creator. If we look back at the poetry of Genesis 1 we see God creating something out of what? Nothing.
The Feeding of the Five Thousand ends with there being more than enough—an abundance.
All ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children. (Matthew 14:20-21)