Here’s a story from the book of Mark, with a bit of my own perspective sprinkled in.
Jesus sent his disciples on a road trip with instructions to take a walking staff and nothing else—no money, no food, no back-up supplies. They headed out to preach the gospel, drive out demons, and pray for the sick. Having seen God work, I imagine they came home happy, but tired. Then they heard about the beheading of John the Baptist. I imagine they were tired, shocked, and sad. The crowds kept coming and pressing in to see Jesus. The disciples were so busy they didn’t even have time to eat. Now they were probably tired, sad, and hungry.
Jesus told the disciples, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest” (Mark 6:31). Climbing into a boat headed for a time of solitude, I imagine they were feeling relieved. But the crowds figured out where they were going and arrived in time to greet the boat.
Jesus “had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd” (Mark 6:34). The disciples, who weren’t going to have a rest after all, may have become tired, sad, hungry, disappointed, and even put out with Jesus for placing the needs of all these other people ahead of theirs.
Suppertime came. The exhausted disciples, surrounded by people in need, said, “Lord, it’s late. These people are hungry. Send them off into the villages to buy their dinner.”
His answer? “You give them something to eat.”
What? Now exhausted, sad, hungry, disappointed, peeved, and maybe even angry, I bet those men thought, “After everything else, does Jesus want us to walk all the way to the villages to get food? We don’t even have any money.” They knew Jesus could do miracles, but they forgot. (Isn’t that true of us at times?) They answered, “Lord, we have nothing to give. It would cost a small fortune to feed all these people.”
Then Jesus asked an important question, followed by a command: “What do you have? Go and see.” He asks us the same question, and gives us the same instructions.
The disciples brought five loaves and two fish to Jesus, who multiplied them and fed all the people. We need to bring what we have to Jesus, too, especially when we’re tired, sad, hungry, disappointed, angry, financially strapped, or full of doubts.
This is a time for us to remember that God can multiply our little loaves and fish—our love, talents, money and time—when we put them in his hands. Jesus asks each of us, “What do you have? Go and see.”