Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the miraculous signs he had performed on the sick. Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. The Jewish Passover Feast was near. When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do. Philip answered him, “Eight months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and the men sat down, about five thousand of them. Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten. After the people saw the miraculous sign that Jesus did, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.”
Even after the meager bit of food is offered to Jesus, it’s still not very much. You couldn’t feed the “Sons of Thunder” with it, much less all 12 apostles, much less the vast crowd of men. But here is where the miracle must begin.
All too often, we are quick to make excuses, to evade responsibility, to give up and say, “It can’t be done.” And sometimes we do nothing because we think what we have doesn’t matter. “I can’t sing. I can’t speak. I’m not rich. I don’t have many talents. I’m not beautiful. I’m not well connected. I don’t know many people.”
But things change when we step forward and offer whatever we have to Jesus. He never asks us to start accumulating more before we begin to minister. It’s not as if he said to Andrew, “Go out and round up three dozen more biscuits and 15 more fish, and I’ll see what I can do.”
All he wants is what we have right now. As long as we keep what we have in our own hands, we are limited to what we can do. But when we transfer what we have to the mighty hands of Jesus, there is no limit to what he can do.