How Much Bread Do You Have?

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As we continue this series looking at questions Jesus asked, today we come to one which, on the surface, doesn’t seem particularly relevant to us today, but when we look deeper I think there is a lot more to it than is obvious at first glance.

“How much bread do you have?” (Matthew 15:34 NLT)

To set this question in context, Jesus has been extremely busy.  For three days he has been surrounded by a crowd who seek teaching and healing and he has been ministering to them but at some point, Jesus notices, everyone seems to have run out of food.

He points this out to his disciples and their response is to ask where they could possibly get food for such a large crowd.  (There are 4000 men, plus women and children.)

Jesus turns the question back to the disciples:  “How much bread do you have?”

In one sense it seems like a silly question.  However much bread they have, the answer is pretty obvious: “Not enough.”

Or is it?  Was Jesus really expecting the disciples to have enough food for well over 4000 people?  How much bread is “enough” for over 4000 people anyway?

It changes things when you consider that this wasn’t the first time this situation had come up.  In Matthew 14, we see another crowd, this time over 5000 men plus women and children, and five loaves and two fish had been enough to feed them, with twelve baskets of leftovers!  The disciples had witnessed this- they had handed out the food to the crowd.  Surely they knew by now that what was totally inadequate from a human perspective was more than enough with Jesus?

Suddenly it seems that their question about where they would get enough food for the crowd was actually the silly question!  This time they have seven loaves and a few small fish- they have more food and less people- and, most importantly, they have Jesus!

It’s easy to read this story and wonder how the disciples didn’t understand this but, if I am honest, far too often I am just the same.

  • I look at my “not enough” and forget that, in Jesus’ power, it is entirely sufficient.
  • I look at a situation that seems impossible and forget that, with God, there is no such thing.
  • I ask God what to do when I already have what I need; I just need to step out in faith.

The encouraging thing about this story is that, regardless of the disciples’ lack of faith and understanding, Jesus took their seven loaves and few fish and once again the people were fed.  He didn’t need what they had, but he chose to use it, and that’s the second lesson I take from this question:

God asks what we have and wants us to offer it to him, because often that’s how he chooses to do the miracle. 

It reminds me of God’s question to Moses as he stands before the burning bush, quivering with fear at the task he’s been called to:  “What is that in your hand?” (Exodus 4:2 NLT)

“A shepherd’s staff,” Moses responds, and God uses it to show his power.

Did God need Moses’ staff to show his power?  Did Jesus need the disciples’ seven loaves and few fish to feed the hungry crowd?  Does he need us to do his work today?

Of course not!  But it is often how he chooses to work, and it begins with recognising our lack- that we can do nothing worthwhile in and of ourselves- but then looking at what we do have to offer, giving it wholeheartedly to God and allowing him to use it to do more than we could ever have imagined.

So consider today:

  • What is in your hand?
  • How much bread do you have?

how-much-bread-do-you-have

This is part 3 of a series reflecting on questions Jesus asked.  Click to read the other posts:
What Do You Want Me To Do For You?
Do You Want To Get Well?

 

Embracing Every Day  “God-Sized  Holly Barrett     purposefulfaith.com             

    

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43 thoughts on “How Much Bread Do You Have?

  1. I love this series of diving deeper into Jesus’ questions, Lesley. I, too, “look at my “not enough” and forget that, in Jesus’ power, it is entirely sufficient.” God is so patient and gracious with our lack of faith and understanding, isn’t He? Love and hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is always encouraging to see that Jesus was always patient with the disciples when they didn’t understand and when they lacked faith, and to know that God is the same wirh us and chooses to use us to do his work. Love and hugs to you too!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Really good post. I love your words,” God asks what we have and wants us to offer it to him, because often that’s how he chooses to do the miracle.” I always have something to offer but hesitate because it is never enough.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am loving your question series. These words sum it up so beautifully.

    But it is often how he chooses to work, and it begins with recognising our lack- that we can do nothing worthwhile in and of ourselves- but then looking at what we do have to offer, giving it wholeheartedly to God and allowing him to use it to do more than we could ever have imagined.

    We always have what we need in God. Even though I know it I still don’t always hold onto that truth and believe it. Thank you for reminding me who I am in Jesus.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love this, Lesley: “Suddenly it seems that their question about where they would get enough food for the crowd was actually the silly question!” And also the fact that, despite their questions, Jesus lovingly provided what they needed. Wonderful post!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Dear Lesley, thanks for the reminder that Jesus is more than we will ever need. Some people may not know He did this kind of miracle twice. We might marvel at the disciples’s seeming fogetfulness the second time around. Or we can praise God He’s as patient with us as Jesus was with them. Prayers for a more than enough day.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is my favorite Lesley: God asks what we have and wants us to offer it to him, because often that’s how he chooses to do the miracle.

    And that is so amazing that he would choose to work in and through us. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Sweet, sweet post that causes me to think. How much bread do I have? This is the year the Lord’s been teaching me to give Him my little things – daily, to look for wisdom from Him – daily. It’s in a much more nitty gritty way than ever before, and I’m loving it. Truly, Jesus’ power is sufficient. #amen Thanks for swinging by my blog and visiting. You’re a blessing.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I love this. As a mama there are lots of times when I don’t feel I have enough…especially enough energy or time. What an awesome reminder that Jesus is completely sufficient for my needs (and my kids’ needs too). ❤❤

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hi Lesley! It often seems like Jesus asks obvious questions. He knows how much bread they have, but he wants to see what kind of faith his followers have. Your point about Jesus providing is such a good one. I know sometimes I get sad because I can’t do something, or see a way out. But that’s when his power is truly seen…in my weakness!
    How much bread do I have? I have just enough because with God, anything is possible!
    Blessings,
    Ceil

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Love this, Lesley! Especially this: Surely they knew by now that what was totally inadequate from a human perspective was more than enough with Jesus?
    So glad to be your neighbor at #heartencouragement!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. How generous of Him to allow us to use what we have. Love what you say about Him not needing to use what we have to offer, but choosing to. How confounding the thought that our Creator chooses to cooperate (literally co-operate) with us to bring about His Kingdom. Kinda gives me chills to consider. 🙂 Thank you for sharing your heart with #ChasingCommunity, Lesley. ((xoxo))

    Liked by 1 person

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