I recently heard to a podcast from a favorite Bible teacher in which he gave a brief history recap of the church he pastors. It was a truly remarkable story of God’s faithfulness and blessing to a very small group of people that ballooned rapidly into a multi-state congregation that even extends to a satellites congregation in other countries.
It’s inspiring to see God birth and raise up far-reaching ministries (like this one and so many others) that boldly proclaim the Gospel and impact the lives of countless and unknown people.
While we can (and certainly should) applaud their work and highlight the incredible redemptive stories of those that have been touch through their labor, sometimes we tend to go beyond simply marveling at the blessing of the Lord to believing that big always means better. That tendency in us to assess the value of a ministry only by the size of its impact unintentionally leaves a lot of people who do small, but very effective work, feeling as though they are perhaps missing something or that their efforts are largely in vain.
But a familiar story in the Gospels reminds us that Jesus is capable of doing quite a lot with very little.
“Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many? Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.” – John 6:8-11
You know, sometimes a cursory look at the things we have to offer God don’t seem to be very impressive. They don’t appear substantial, flashy or exciting. Certainly, appearing more like common fish and bread than anything of great worth. But our assessment of true value is inaccurate, mainly because we make the same mistake that the disciples did that day out on the hillside. They assumed because something was small, it was of little or no value for the exceedingly large need. But, they (and we) fail to take into account the transforming power of Christ and His ability to take what we have and do amazing things with it.
Yeah, I know the little boy got to see the great miracle that Jesus did with his lunch, and it’s really nice when we get a glimpse of what He does with our small offerings too, but we don’t always get that opportunity. It’s in those times that we need to remember that we’re called to “live by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor 5:7) and choose to believe that He multiplies our work, even if we never get to see the mouths that it feeds.
So always keep in mind that no matter how small your offering appears to you (or others), bring what you have anyway. Give your best to the Lord, and then rest in the confident knowledge that all it takes is the touch of the Master to make a great impact for His kingdom.