Every Friday, my job has “Bagel Friday”. This means that a freshly-baked, warm batch of bagel goodness is delivered to our break-room every Friday morning.
Then the “Hunger Games” begin. Whoever smells the bagels first hurries to get to the room. No one says a thing. Stealth could very well be a word to describe the movements of my coworkers to get there.
And it’s all because of one thing…
Oh, you don’t even know. The irony of it all is that we only get TWO cheese bagels for the whole office. There are various other flavors, but not any quite as tasty as that delicious cheese bagel.
I’ve only had the “honor of the bagel” ONCE in around 4 months. Some have yet never seen it.
You’ve never had it? Too bad. Because those who do get it are very jealous of their cheese bagel. And the truth is – after “waiting” to get the bagel for “so long” – you wouldn’t want to give it up either.
That’s just how it is.
Have you ever had a packet of gum and pulled it out at the wrong moment?
By wrong moment, I mean in a moment where everyone around you has just had a meal and suddenly, this happens:
The truth is, sometimes it’s hard to give of what we have. We can feel uncomfortable. Inconvenienced. Sometimes we feel like we don’t have much to give anyways.
In Matthew 15:32-34, we can read the following:
Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.”
His disciples answered, “Where could we get enough bread in this remote place to feed such a crowd?”
“How many loaves do you have?” Jesus asked.
“Seven,” they replied, “and a few small fish.”
Can you picture it? The disciples and Jesus had been serving non-stop for three days. Instead of complaining of His own tiredness, Jesus had compassion on the people. And what did he ask his disciples?
What do YOU have? (And it’s for them!)
Knowing me, I would have probably given first, second and third thoughts to giving my food away. After all, I was responsible in bringing food for myself – right? I could have offered to give the people part of the food I had, but certainly not all. I have needs too, right?
Yet that is not what Jesus commanded. He didn’t say “eat, and then give what’s left over”. He took all seven pieces of bread and fish:
“He told the crowd to sit down on the ground. Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, and when he had given thanks, he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and they in turn to the people.” Matt 15:35-36
I think it’s even funnier that the disciples were the ones in charge of passing down their food! But of course, a miracle happened: the fish and bread were multiplied and “they all ate and were satisfied. Afterward the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over” (Matt 15:37).
From this passage we can learn the following points:
- God asks us to give.
- He doesn’t ask us to give what we have left over, but to give all we have. Whatever that may be, however big or small it is.
- Once we give, we allow God to be glorified through those very things that we gave up.
- God blesses not only the people around us when we give, but He blesses us as well. God gives us the strength and provision to move forward when we feel we have nothing left.
God says that if we cling to our lives and our things, we will lose them. Matthew 25:29 reads:
To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away.
God so loved the world that he gave. The interesting thing about the story of the fish and loaves is that Jesus didn’t ask for this food for Himself. He asked the disciples to give in order to bless others and glorify Himself even more among them. The gospel is first about God, and second about people.
Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”
We all have something to give. Whether it’s our time, talents or treasures, God has given us enough to give back.
How have you “inconvenienced” yourself to show Christ to others lately?
What do YOU have ?