By Dana Bruxfoort
I've heard the story of the feeding of the 5,000 countless times in my life. I'm sure you're familiar with it too, but if not, the story usually goes something like this: Jesus was teaching a huge crowd of people, and it was getting close to dinnertime, so the people were hungry. His disciples (in what is usually interpreted as a lack of faith) told Jesus to send the people home so they could eat. But Jesus, in all his miracle-performing glory, turned a young boy's five loaves of bread and two fish into enough food to feed the entire crowd.
Last week, one of my coworkers brought up this story and encouraged us to think about the little boy — the one who offered his meal of five pieces of bread and two small fish to Jesus.
There have been numerous times since I've been in Thailand when I've wondered what I have to offer. What difference can I make to this city, to this ministry or to these people? I'm not experienced in international missions. I'm certainly not gifted in evangelism. And I know very little Thai, so I can barely have a conversation with most people I meet.
If you look at it practically, I have very little to offer.
The little boy in the story (found in John 6 and Matthew 14) didn't have much to offer either — just enough food to feed a couple of people. But instead of focusing on the scarcity of his offering, he willingly gave what little he had. He didn't worry about how it would be used; he just wanted to give it to Jesus. And Jesus, in turn, took that meager gift and multiplied it into enough food for 5,000 people. Jesus turned it into a miracle that brought glory to His name.
This story has brought me much encouragement. Instead of asking the Lord to show me precisely how He can use me, I'm trying to live each day in the promise of Ephesians 3:20 that He who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine according to his power that is at work within us can takewhatever His people give Him and somehow use it for His Kingdom.
So instead of focusing on what we don't have, or on the smallness of what we have to offer, we can trust that when we give anything to the Lord — our time, our love, our creativity He is faithful to use it for good. We may not know how, when, or where He will do so, and we may never see the kind of tangible results the world tells us to look for, but as Ecclesiastes 3:11 says, He has made everything beautiful in its time. When we let go of our fears, ambitions and desires, He shows up. We just need to take that oh-so-difficult first step of surrendering to Him.
So reflect on this story for yourself and consider what you have to offer, even if it's only a few breadcrumbs and a couple tadpole-sized fish…
Dana is a writer, and in addition to her own blog (aptly named A Breath of Fresh Air), Dana has written for such online publications as Ready, Set, Jet, RevolutionizeHer, Detour, and Youth With a Mission (YWAM). Even more importantly, Dana is a missionary. She has only just recently returned to the states after an extended stay in Thailand working as a missionary. I knew that, if anyone could speak to the power of missions to transform, it would be Dana. Dana Bruxvoort from A Breath of Fresh Air.