One of my favorite Bible stories is the one of Jesus feeding the 5000. As I’ve heard other pastors and teachers say, the 5000 was 5000 men, if they brought their families with them, then surely it was a whole lot more than 5000. Either way, it was a miracle and we have a miracle working God!
As I think of this story once again, I am reminded that Jesus and his disciples had actually went away to a quiet place for some rest. They had already been ministering and this was their time to get away for a bit, but the crowd followed and even though Jesus, as fully human, could have been tired from ministering and wanting some time alone with just the twelve, He had compassion on them. He began teaching them. His disciples, also tired from ministering, saw it was getting late and their response was to send the people away. Isn’t that often our typical response when we are tired of serving or ministering? I know there have been a few times, only a few as most of my friends are very courteous, but there have been a few times in my life when I’ve had friends over and thought, I’m tired, I hope they go home soon. (If you are one of my friends, please don’t take this wrong. There have been very few times when this has happened and I’m sure it’s not any one of you reading this right now!) Yes, when we are weary, we need and want rest!
But Jesus had another idea. He told his disciples, “You feed them!”
Whoa! Wait a minute here. I would have been thinking, “Not only am I tired, but I wonder how long it’s going to take for the crowd to leave, and now Jesus is asking me to feed them? Doesn’t He know that I didn’t even get a chance to run to the store this week? We’re in a remote place and I thought we came here to rest not serve dinner to 5000! Jesus, you know I simply can’t do that!”
The disciples answered in a similar fashion. They told Jesus, “We would have to spend more than half a years wages to get enough bread to feed this many people.” (Oh, and by the way Jesus, did you forget that we gave up everything to follow you? We haven’t been drawing a paycheck from fishing lately.)
Then Jesus asked a simple question, “What do you have?” Yes, what do you have? Good question! Before I tell Jesus no, perhaps I need to take stock of what I do have, because Jesus can do amazing things with what I give Him no matter how small. The disciples found that there was a boy who had a small lunch, five loaves of bread and two fish. Of course you hopefully know the rest of the story, when they gave this small offering to Jesus, He multiplied. That small lunch was way more than enough.
Too often like the disciples, we get hung up on what we have to offer or what we can do. What Jesus is really asking is for us to say, “Yes!” to Him. Because, when we say, “Yes!” to Him, He provides, He multiplies and He performs miracles. It’s not about what we can do or how much we have to give, it’s about Jesus and what we He can do. It’s about giving our all. It’s about taking the small amount He has given us and offering it back to Him. He is the one who can do and does do amazing things. What do you have? Take stock and see, then give it all to Jesus.
PARENT OR GRANDPARENT PRAYER:
Dear God, I do become weary in the task of ministering to others and I do wonder sometimes if I have enough to share. Yes, I do have enough to share, you have blessed me in so many ways and yet, Lord, the need is so enormous and our world seems so small any more. We hear of tragedies not only in our city or community or even in our nation, but around the world. Natural disasters leave many homeless and hurting, pandemics and other health issues leave children orphaned. Wars, famines, evil all plays its toll on the innocent, the poor, the broken and hurting. How can my small offering even make a dent? Still Lord, I offer what I have to you. I ask for your wisdom in my giving, my use of my time and even on the ways that I treat others because often what others need most is our grace, our love and our compassion. When we give these things, we will act. We will give help and we will share your grace and forgiveness with others. As parents, Lord, show us how we can encourage our kids to give, serve and show compassion. Remind us that it’s not about what we have or even what we can do, but rather it’s about what you can do with what we offer to you. Thank you God, for your great love and compassion. You are a miracle working God. You multiply, you do amazing things with the things we offer you. It’s yours, Lord, use this small offering for your glory. Amen
WHEN THINKING ABOUT GIVING
* Pray – Be open to what God is asking you to do. Everyone can do something – it doesn’t have to be a lot.
* Kids can begin giving at a young age. It’s good for kids to learn compassion and gratitude. Giving sparks both of these attitudes.
* Dave Ramsey, founder of “Financial Peace“, suggests that kids learn to give 10 percent of the money they get, save 10 percent and then the rest is theirs to spend. You can even get banks to help your kids do this. JA Kid’s Biz Town, which is an organization that focuses on teaching financial responsibility to school-age kids, also suggests this practice.
* Don’t forget to give grace to others. God so freely gave grace to us. I think our world is sadly in need of grace. Grace can be as simple as a listening ear – be willing to hear what someone else says even if you don’t agree.
Things You Can Do With Your Kids
SHARE A STORY: A Boy Shares – Mark 6:30-44; John 6:1-14
One day Jesus was teaching a BIG crowd of people. The people loved Jesus. They listened to Jesus all day. (Put hand by ear as though listening.) Finally it was dinner time. The people were so hungry. (Rub tummy.) Jesus’ helpers said to Jesus, “There’s nothing here to eat. Send the people away to buy food.”
But Jesus said, “You to give them something to eat.” (Place hand by mouth as though eating.)
The helpers asked, “How can we possibly feed them? We don’t have enough money to buy bread.”
“Go and see what you have.” Jesus said, “And then bring it to me.”
They looked through the crowd until they saw a boy who had brought his lunch. But He only had five loaves of bread and two fish, not enough for a bunch! “That’s not enough!” thought the helpers. “Not enough!” thought the boy, but he gave it to Jesus anyway. Then he waited to see what Jesus would do. (Pretend to give a lunch to Jesus.)
Jesus thanked His Father God for the loaves and fish that day. (Fold hands as though praying.) Then He broke the food into pieces and His helpers gave it away. Everyone had plenty. There was more than enough lunch for the bunch. There were even twelve baskets leftover for Jesus’ helpers to munch. (Count to twelve, rub tummy and say, “Yum! Yum!”) Jesus fed 5000 people with two fish and a few loaves of bread. WOW! Jesus can do anything, just like our Bible says. A boy shared his lunch, and Jesus made that lunch enough for that whole big bunch!
God gives you good things to eat and good things to share too. God can do anything. There’s absolutely nothing, He can’t do! He can bless what you share with others just like He blessed the boy’s small lunch. Think of something that you can share this week? (A cookie, my toys, clothes I’ve outgrown, a smile or hug, etc.) It doesn’t have to be a bunch. Whatever we give to Jesus, will surely be enough.
Thank you for giving me good food to eat and good things to share. I want to remember to share the good things you give with others so that they will know how much you love them. Thank you for sharing with me. Amen
KNOW: God can do amazing things with what we share.
TALK ABOUT: What do you have to share?
ASK: What belongs to God? All that I have belongs to God.
AND DO: Share something with someone this week.
FUN IDEAS FOR THIS WEEK:
* Sharing and giving can even be hard for adults sometimes. Encourage your child to share by giving him two cookies or two books, toys, etc. One for him to keep and one to share with a friend.
* Invite a friend to picnic with you at the park or in the backyard. If you wish, you could even serve fish sticks and rolls so that you can reenact this week’s story.
* MEMORIZE: 1 Tim. 6:18 ERV – (Hold hands like holding a book.)
Be happy, – (Smile)
To give – (Hands out)
And ready – (Wave like a music director.)
To share – (Pretend to give something to someone.)