by Lydia Floren
There were thousands – literally thousands – covering the hillside, sitting beneath trees, listening, absorbing the truth Jesus was teaching. The truth of who He was. Just being in His presence was powerful – life-changing.
But the disciples had been there, done that. They were getting hungry. And worried. How in the world was this crowd of humanity going to get something to eat in the middle of the countryside? Why can’t Jesus see the need to stop and let people tend to their families and themselves?
And then a little boy tugged at one man’s sleeve. “My mom packed me a lunch. Can I share it with the Teacher?”
The burly man turned around, and looked at the small sack of bread and fish. He shook his head.
“Son, this is nowhere near enough to feed this huge crowd. Just keep your lunch. We’ll figure something out.”
But then a deep familiar voice resonated from behind the pair:
“Young man, this is a generous offer.” Jesus kneeled down, and looked the boy in the eye.
“Thank you,” He continued, “I would be most grateful for this food, as will these hungry folks.”
He took the small bag, opened it, blessed the food, and then proceeded to feed the huge group until they were too full to eat any more.
Never think your talent is too small, your gift too weak, your life too broken to be given to God. When we offer what we have, we are immediately blessed, just because we offer it. And our act of trust blesses our Heavenly Father, because what He wants is not the gift itself, but our heart that chooses to give. And He wants it all, no matter how meager it seems to us. It thrills His heart when we not only give him our best, but we give Him everything, including our weaknesses, shortcomings, bad habits, worries.
God makes beauty out of ashes. It is His specialty.
What do you need to give to God today? This year? Whatever it is, He will transform it, multiply it, use it to bless you and those around you.
And know this: our greatest joy – and God’s – comes simply from our act of giving.
“…a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” Isaiah 61:3