To live what I like to call the simple difference, we have to exchange the way we see our not-enough for the way God sees it.
I can’t help but think about the boy who gave his small lunch. You probably know the story: A huge crowd — five thousand men, plus all the women and children — has been following Jesus and His disciples, eager to see Him heal the sick. They are in a remote location. It’s getting late, which is problematic because there isn’t enough food to feed the crowd and no easy place to get some.
The disciple Andrew points out, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” (John 6:9). In essence he’s saying, look at what we have — it’s something, but it’s not enough. Have you ever done this? You’re aware of a huge problem or predicament, you want to do something to help, but the resources available to you fall painfully short.
We don’t know if the boy who gave up his meager meal did so willingly or begrudgingly. What we do know is that Jesus transformed what was not enough into more than enough.
“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.”
Scripture doesn’t say if the boy was hopeful that his little lunch would help or if it felt like an empty gesture toward a lost cause. But here’s the thing: how we feel or what we think about the resources we have to give doesn’t dictate or limit God’s power to use them. It wasn’t up to the boy what became of his food. It was up to him to be aware of the needs around him, assess the resources available to him, and respond to the opportunity to make a difference.
This miracle of multiplication was fueled by God’s power! Only He could take a total lack and turn it into total satisfaction. But the spark that started the blaze of provision was one small act of obedience.
Time and time again I’m faced with what I perceive as my own inadequacy and lack. What I have to give rarely feels enough for what is needed. A friend needs help moving, but I don’t have a truck. Someone needs a babysitter, but I’m buried with work. A family can’t pay rent, but what I have to give can hardly make a dent. In times like these we need to remember that iGod’s power fills in the gap.
We have the delightful opportunity to show up, give freely, and put the responsibility of the outcome squarely where it belongs — in God’s sovereign hands.
TODAY: When a need feels too big to meet, just give exactly what you have.
-Written by Becky Keife, adapted from her (in)courage book, The Simple Difference.
When the world’s problems loom large and your ordinary life stretches you thin, is it still possible to be a difference-maker? Absolutely! One small, intentional, extravagant act of kindness at a time. The Simple Difference: How Every Small Kindness Makes a Big Impact by Becky Keife will help you to stop getting buried in busyness and distraction and discover countless opportunities for impact right where you are.
Rather than trying to do more, learn how to see more: more of the people in front of you, more of God’s lavish love for you, and more of His power within you. Grab a copy of The Simple Difference now. We pray it blesses you.