Jesus fed the multitude by having His disciples pass out the food.
Don’t miss this. If you know the story in Matthew 14 (also in Mark 6, Luke 9 and John 6) you probably know it as the story of how “Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand”. Think about this, though.
Yes, Jesus took the food and blessed it, yes, Jesus caused the miraculous multiplication, but who was it that actually brought the food to the people who needed it? Who actually did the feeding part?
It was the disciples.
Now, don’t get lost here or distracted from the point. The point is not to in any way take away the miraculous nature of the event, or “steal the spotlight” from Jesus because yes, HE is the one from whom the food came. The point I hope you’ll consider is simply this: God uses people to do His work, and He doesn’t usually go around them if they don’t do their part.
“Imagine if the disciples had simply held on to the food Jesus gave them, continually thanking Him for providing lunch for them. That would’ve been stupid when there was enough food to feed the thousands who were gathered and hungry.” (Francis Chan, “Crazy Love” p.120) Even more than being stupid, had the disciples simply held on to the food, it would have been sinful. Think about this…
There was a specific need (the people were hungry).
There was a significant obstacle (over 200 days wages to feed them all [Mark 6:37]).
There was a supernatural provision (Jesus blessed and multiplied the food).
There was a straightforward command (“You give them something to eat” [Matthew 14:16b]).
What did Jesus specifically tell them to do? “You give them something to eat.” God’s desire was to show His supernatural provision, and to use His people to spread it around.
What would have happened if the disciples hadn’t done their part? Simple.
There would have been no miracle because the disciples hindered it from happening. God would have been ready to bless many, but the ones He wanted to use held on to the seeds and prevented the harvest.
How much more now in the age of the Church, with the power of the Holy Spirit! How much more must God want to do among us for His glory and the good of all people! How sad it would be if His people were preventing His miracles from happening because they would not open their hands!
When we give, God multiplies. The question is, are we willing to “pass it out” and trust God to take care of our own needs, too, or do we hold back and hold out because we’re living in selfishness, laziness or fear?
What would happen if God’s people lived more and more with open hands, if we rose to the calling God’s given us to spread His blessings out to others? What would happen if we weren’t so concerned about our own lives, our own houses, our own futures that we held back on helping others, but instead gave generously and even recklessly, trusting God to provide for our needs as we provided for others?
It would be a revolution. A generous revolution.