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Giving multiplied by Jesus

In John 6:1-15, John gives us his rendition of the story of the feeding of the five thousand. He tells how Jesus was able to take the gift of a young boy’s lunch, five small barley loaves and two small fish and was able use them to feed the whole crowd of five thousand. They were allowed to eat all that they wanted and 12 baskets were filled by what was left over. I wonder what would have happened if the boy had not been willing to give up his lunch.

The wonderful thing is that he didn’t hold it back and Jesus was able to take his little bit and turn it into more than enough. God has given most of us enough for ourselves, our five loaves and two fish — our lunch — enough to feed one person but not enough to do much for anyone else.

We wish we could do more. But Jesus is able to use even our small gift and make it into something more. We so often miss the opportunity to use our five loaves and two fish, to make a small gift that Jesus can make into something more.

Just think for a moment of some of the small gifts that we might give Jesus: Our gift might be the twenty-dollar bill — or the hundred-dollar bill — that sits so heavily in our billfold when the offering comes around at church. Our gift might be to give up the grudge that we have against our neighbor — the grudge that we have nursed for a decade and from which we seem to derive so much pernicious pleasure. Our gift might be to show an act of kindness to someone at work — a word of praise or a helping hand.

Our gift might be a donation to one of the agencies that helps the homeless. Our gift might be to volunteer at FACES. Our gift may be to deliver meals with Meals on Wheels. There are so many charitable organizations in this area that can use your small gift to bring comfort and sustenance to people in need.

The little boy gave up his five loaves and two fish — and Jesus multiplied them — and people around the world are still being blessed today by his story. Look for a “five loaves and two fish” gift that you can give Jesus.

Try to give Jesus a “five loaves and two fish” gift every day. Jesus will bless every gift given in devotion to him — and will make something important of it.

REV. DALE BROWN is the pastor of Cumberland and Guinea Presbyterian churches. His email address is dalembesq@aol.com