I grew up on a farm and I remember quite a few times when we had unexpected company for dinner. We had friends that would just drop by to visit and stay longer than perhaps even they had anticipated. Sometimes we even had people stop by who were looking for work or to use our phone. I guess it was just part of country life. When people stopped by lingering until dinner time, my mom would often say, “I was just getting ready to fix dinner. Would you like to stay?” And many times, they would, but we always had enough to share. I do remember seeing my mom glance at the clock a few times wondering if she was fixing dinner for just the family or a few more. Whatever we were having soup, sandwiches or roast beef, somehow it always stretched. The unspoken rule of country hospitality was that you didn’t send a neighbor, friend or anyone away hungry. You always shared.
It has been a long time since I’ve had any unexpected visitors for dinner, still if I did, I know I would share – that’s just part of that country hospitality coming through. I feel that sharing is important! Just like the disciples, sometimes I look at what I have, weigh it against the need and think, “I don’t have enough!”
(I’m sure my mom felt like that a few times too!) My time, my talent, my resources are simply not enough when weighed against the enormous need in our world today. When I look at the need, I can find myself paralyzed by the enormity of it! What can I, one person, do? I barely have enough to care for the needs of my own family let alone the needs of thousands! It would be tempting to shut the door, to close my eyes and take care of me and my own. After all isn’t that enough? But Jesus calls us to share. He knows the need is great and He knows that our small lunch is not enough yet, He says, “Bring it to me. Let me break it and multiply it. Trust me! Have you forgotten, child? I can do what you can’t.”
So it is that I find myself yet again putting another plate on the table and giving Jesus my meagre resources. I say, “Here it is, Lord. I know it’s not enough, but take it, bless it and use it. I give back to you out of the rich resources of all you’ve given to me. Bless others. Feed the hungry, encourage the disheartened, love the lonely and may you be glorified!” And you know what? Time and time again, He blesses. Crowds are fed, people are healed or encouraged, children learn that Jesus loves them and many rejoice because Jesus is amazing!
Hey what’s for dinner anyway? I hope it’s yummy because God is calling us to share and bless others with what He has given us. So I know you were only planning on five for dinner and now you have ten hungry people at your door, but guess what? What if God sent them to your door or the door of your church? What if they need the help and hope that only He can give? Don’t send them away hungry. Dig deep. Check your resources – What do you have? Then bring those “loaves and fish” to Jesus. When He blesses, it is enough!
I’m so thankful for all that you have given me. I have a home, warm clothes to wear and food to eat. You have truly blessed me and yet sometimes Lord, when I see the enormity of the need around me, I feel inadequate. All that I have is just a drop in the bucket compared to the need. What I am able to do or give is so small. It’s not enough. Yet Lord, I give you what I do have. I give you my small, insignificant lunch. Take it and use it Lord for your glory. I know you are able to multiply what I place in your hands and I know that it will make a difference because you make a difference. When I become overwhelmed Lord, teach me to look to you. Remind me to give to you not only when I have an abundance, but to be ready and willing to give to you even when my resources are barely enough to meet my own needs. You are amazing, God! I trust you. Amen
LEARNING TO GIVE & SHARE
- Let your kids see you giving and sharing. They will catch the spirit.
- Pray about the needs that you see in your world. Pray with your child. Ask God for guidance as you share.
- Giving & sharing are often birthed out of a heart of gratitude. Start giving thanks for what you do have and see what opportunities God will give you to share
- Give God what you have – recognize His ownership in all that you have and trust Him to multiply what you have given to Him.
- Be creative! Include your child in the fun. Perhaps you can find some creative ways to earn money to help your favorite charity – A Pet Walk-A-Thon or a Bake sale or a Drive-by collection for your local food bank.
- Involve others. Others in your family, at work, your child’s preschool or your neighborhood. More can be done with he help of others. Jesus involved His disciples in distributing the loaves & fish.
- Give your change or round up your purchases at the store in order to give. There are even aps that make giving super easy.
- Volunteer – giving of your time can go a long ways to helping others.
- Try to do something visual, tangible with small children – show a picture or do something hands -on so they can actually see the results.
- Help a neighbor or friend.
SHARE A STORY: Jesus Feeds A Crowd – John 6:3-14Luke 18:15-17
- This section is for you and your child to do together.
One day Jesus was teaching a BIG crowd of people. The people loved Jesus. They listened to Him all day. It was time to eat and they were very hungry. (Rub tummy.) Jesus’ helpers said, “There’s nothing here to eat, Jesus, send the people away so that they can go buy food.”
But Jesus said, “Why don’t you give them something to eat?”
Jesus’ helpers asked, “What are we supposed to feed them?”
Jesus said, “Go and see what you have.”
They found a boy who had brought his lunch. He only had five loaves of bread and two fish in his lunch. That’s not very much, not enough for a big crowd! It was certainly not enough to share, but he gave it to Jesus anyway.
Jesus took the five loaves of bread and the fish. He thanked God for the food; then He broke the loaves and fish into pieces and His helpers gave the food to the people. Guess what happened? There was more than enough food. Everyone ate all they wanted and there were even twelve baskets of food left over!
Jesus fed 5000 people that day with just five loaves of bread and two fish. That’s amazing! WOW! Jesus can do anything. A boy shared his lunch and Jesus made it enough to feed everyone. Jesus loved the people. He didn’t want to send them away hungry. He wanted to give them food to eat. Jesus loves you too. He gives you enough to share with others. He blesses what we share and makes it enough.
Jesus’ helpers didn’t think they had enough to share, but Jesus asked them to see what they did have. When they gave it to Jesus, even though it was only a little, Jesus made it more than enough. What are some things that you can share? (Give kids some time to answer.) I like to share food and books with other people. What do you like to share? I’m glad we can share and I’m glad that God blesses what we share with others. You can ask Jesus for help when you share. He loves you and wants to give you enough to share with others.
Thank you for loving me and giving me good things that I can share with others. Show me what I can share this week. As I share, may others know that you love them and that you are amazing. I love you. Amen
WHAT’S THE BIG IDEA?
TO KNOW: I can share what I have with others.
TO TALK ABOUT: Jesus is amazing! He can do anything!
TO ASK: Who loves you? Jesus loves me.
MEMORIZE: 1 John 4:19 — (Hold hands open as though holding a book.)
We love – (Give self a hug.)
Because He – (Point up.)
Loved us – (Give self a hug.)
First – (Show one finger.)
AND DO: Share because Jesus gives me enough to share.
* Share something with someone this week – cookies with a neighbor, food for your local food bank, a toy with a friend. Remember to ask Jesus to bless what you share with others.
* Count! Count steps, blocks, baskets – whatever you can think of. As you count, talk about the 12 baskets of food left over when Jesus fed the crowd. Say, “Jesus can do amazing things!”