“Now when it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, ‘This is a desolate place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves.’ But Jesus said, ‘They need not go away; you give them something to eat.’ They said to him, ‘We have only five loaves here and two fish.’ And he said, ‘Bring them here to me.’ Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.” Matthew 14:15-21
What the disciples saw as desolate, Jesus saw as ample. What they thought needed to be bought, Jesus supplied for free. What they skeptically deemed “only,” Jesus confidently pronounced “enough.” When they looked doubtfully about, Jesus looked gratefully up. What they assessed as minimal, Jesus blessed and multiplied to be ample. What they gave to Jesus whole, He broke and returned to be distributed to crowds. And the hungry, thousands of them, were satisfied. Then the disciples collected His abundant more.
There were twelve baskets of leftovers, one for each disciple, a personal visual aid to remind them that this One Whom they followed performed miracles beyond what they could even envision, and they were part of His cast. He was powerful, intentional, lavish in His compassion to men and His ability to provide. He wanted to use them, to teach them to assess their resources, and boldly entrust them to Him. He was the wonder-worker, He would execute His good out of what they offered to make a difference in others’ lives and in His kingdom, He was able to do far more than they could ask or imagine, and delighted to do so.
Father, my offering of self and means is meager, but You are inexhaustible and generous. Here I am. Break, bless, use me as You will for Your kingdom purposes. To You Who are able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to You be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21)