I have found that more times than not, God uses the ordinary to perform the extraordinary. I mean, think about it; God created man from the dust of the ground. God didn’t need anything special or complicated. All he needed when he created man was simple dirt. One of the characteristics that those of us who are Christians all have in common is that we all have a deep rooted desire to fulfill God’s purposes and make a difference in the world around us. We want to make a difference in our families, our churches, and our communities. With that being said, have you ever felt like you had very little to offer God? You may feel like you don’t necessarily have any spectacular talent to offer God. You may feel like you are not a gifted and persuasive speaker. It is not uncommon for Christian people to take inventory of what they consider their talents and gifting to be, and wonder what they could possibly possess that could make a major difference for the cause of Christ in the world around them. I would like to suggest to you that you may have more to offer God than you think. God doesn’t need anything spectacular from you to work through you. God can take what is ordinary and perform the extraordinary. What God needs from you is an attitude that says, “God, whatever it is I have, if you can use it for your glory, it is yours.” When you embrace that attitude, look out, because it is then that God can perform the miraculous from what may have seemed to you as very little.
One of the greatest stories in the Bible that gives us an example of God taking what seemed like very little, and using the ordinary to perform the extraordinary is found in the 6th chapter of the Gospel of John. In this chapter, you can find the story of Jesus performing the miracle of feeding over five thousand people with five loaves of bread and two fishes. This story is found in all four Gospels of the New Testament, but I find the account in John’s gospel to be the most intriguing because it is only in John’s gospel that we are told the bread and fish were offered by a little boy. I would love to share some thoughts with you about this miracle as recorded in the Gospel of John. Take a look at John chapter 6 verses 1-13. Here is how the story reads in the New Living Translation:
After this, Jesus crossed over to the far side of the Sea of Galilee, also known as the Sea of Tiberias. A huge crowd kept following him wherever he went, because they saw his miraculous signs as he healed the sick. Then Jesus climbed a hill and sat down with his disciples around him. (It was nearly time for the Jewish Passover celebration.) Jesus soon saw a huge crowd of people coming to look for him. Turning to Philip, he asked, “Where can we buy bread to feed all these people?” He was testing Philip, for he already knew what he was going to do. Philip replied, “Even if we worked for months, we wouldn’t have enough money to feed them!” Then Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up. “There’s a young boy here with five barley loaves and two fish. But what good is that with this huge crowd?” “Tell everyone to sit down,” Jesus said. So they all sat down on the grassy slopes. (The men alone numbered about 5,000.) Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks to God, and distributed them to the people. Afterward he did the same with the fish. And they all ate as much as they wanted. After everyone was full, Jesus told his disciples, “Now gather the leftovers, so that nothing is wasted.” So they picked up the pieces and filled twelve baskets with scraps left by the people who had eaten from the five barley loaves. (John 6:1-13 NLT)
Wow! What an amazing story! Jesus took what seemed trivial and ordinary and performed the extraordinary! There are a few things from this story that I would like to draw to your attention and consider. First of all, here Jesus and his disciples were on a hillside completed swarmed by a huge multitude of hungry people. Today we are all walking through a world in which we are surrounded by people who are hungry. We are surrounded by people who are looking for something that satisfies and will take away the pain of the emptiness and hunger that life can bring. We are God’s hands and feet in today’s world. We have to do as Jesus did and have compassion on the world around us, and recognize the fact that the world around us is full of people wanting to be fed. In this situation Jesus asked his disciples where they could buy bread to feed the multitude of people. Jesus already knew the solution to the problem. Jesus simply wanted to see if his disciples knew the solution. The fact was, Jesus WAS the solution. Jesus told his disciples later in this chapter that HE was the Bread of Life. He told his disciples that whoever would come to Him would never hunger again, and whoever believed in Him would never thirst. (John 6:35) Jesus is STILL the Bread of Life, and He is the only one who has the ability to provide the nourishment that the world around us needs. He is the answer to the world’s problems. The disciples looked at the multitude of people around them, and to the disciples it seemed like an impossible and hopeless situation. They wondered how they could possibly acquire enough bread to even begin to make a difference. Then, a little boy comes upon the scene. The disciples soon discovered that the little boy had in his possession fives loaves of bread and two fish. I have to use my imagination here and think that perhaps this little boy’s mother had sent him to the market to buy some bread and fish for dinner, and he was on his way home when he came upon this situation. The wonderful thing about it was that this little boy was willing to freely give up everything he had. He obviously handed over all five loaves and both fish to the disciples to use as they saw fit. He didn’t stop to think, “Wow…if I go home without this bread and this fish, Mom is going to be really mad!” He simply gave it up in faith. This is what we have to do when we offer ourselves to God. When we want to be of service to God, we cannot stop to think what if this or what if that. We simply have to say to God, “God, I trust you, and whatever I have that you can use is yours.”
After the disciples received the bread and fish from the little boy, they still couldn’t imagine how they could make any difference at all with so little to offer. The disciple Andrew asked, “What good is this with such a huge crowd?” How many times in life have you realized that there is a great need in your family, church, or community around you, and you were left feeling overwhelmed by the magnitude of the problem? Sometimes in life we want so badly to make a difference in the world, but we feel like we simply do not have enough of anything in terms of a gift to offer to God that would make any sizable difference. When it comes to being used by God, we must never worry that what we have to offer God is not enough or not good enough. We simply have to be willing to give God ourselves and let Him take care of the rest. The Bible talks about in Romans that we should offer ourselves as a living sacrifice unto God. We may not think what we have to offer is enough, but God doesn’t need quantity from us, He only needs willingness on our part to be used by Him.
After Jesus took the fives loaves and two fish, He gave thanks for it. Notice that Jesus did not pray that the bread and fish would be multiplied. He only gave thanks for what was offered. Jesus never had a doubt in his mind that what was offered would be enough. When we read this story, we find out that after the bread and fish were passed around, it ended up being enough to feed ALL the people until they were filled! The people didn’t simply snack, they were stuffed when it was all said and done! On top of the fact that the people were all filled, twelve baskets of leftovers were collected from what remained! That is the way God works! When we offer what we have to God, the return will ALWAYS be greater than the investment. When you embrace a desire to share whatever you have that God can use to bless others, you will always get more back than you give! It is impossible to outgive God. Can you imagine the look on the little boy’s face when the disciples handed over to him the twelve baskets of fragments? The little boy had been so willing to give up what little he had. The bread and fish that remained far exceeded the amount that the little boy started with. I wonder what his Mom thought when he got home with all twelve baskets? Of course, there is nothing in scripture that suggests that the little boy had been sent on a grocery shopping trip by his mother. I just like to use my imagination there.
Jesus took what seemed like very little and ordinary, and performed something extraordinary that made a difference in the lives of over five thousand people! As you go through life, I urge you to never feel like you have nothing to offer God that would make any difference. I can assure you that you have plenty to offer God. God doesn’t ask for an abundance of talent or gifts from you. All God asks is that you be a willing vessel for Him to use and work through. If you give your all to God, He will take care of the rest, and your willingness to offer yourself to God will make a difference in the world around you. Never forget that God can take the ordinary and perform the extraordinary.
Thanks for reading!
Until next time,