Two thousand years ago in the land of Palestine, a conversation might have gone like this.
Five! And two small fish!
What do you want us to do with them again?
I want to give them to Yeshua. He must be hungry after speaking for so long!
*Sigh* Ok, look kid, I’ll mention it to the Master if it comes up.
I can just imagine the young boy beaming. He probably skipped away still having no clue what he’s simple act of generosity was going to do. All he could think about was that the great Teacher Yeshua was going to have his little lunch. I bet he ran to tell all of his friends about it. They probably would have slapped him on the back and congratulated their buddy’s sudden rise to fame. For a moment they would have forgotten that they were still hungry.
And then they are told to sit down. Surprised murmurs start floating through the crowd of over five thousand. What is the teacher going to say now? –He is holding up bread, Stephen!–why bread?–It’s another parable about leaven–no, no he’s holding it up and praying–WHAT?–He’s breaking it now and given it to his disciples…I wonder what went through the little boy’s mind when he realized it was the five loaves and two fish that he had given to Andrew.
A lot of us have heard this story before. I’m sure I’m not the only person who would love to sink my teeth into a miracle lunch. It would really save on the restaurant bills on Sunday afternoon. Of course, it’s not just the novelty of a free lunch. It’s the ability of Jesus to break the laws of nature that really blows our minds. Let me be real with you: I’m unashamedly fascinated with miracles. They aren’t the end of themselves, absolutely. The One they point to far surpasses their value because this One is the God of the Universe who spoke life into existence. Miracles are just this One continuing to rewrite it’s laws.
If you could be someone, other than Jesus, in the story of the feeding of the five thousand, who would you be? I’ve decided I would be the young boy. He’s the only person who knew beyond a shadow of a doubt how little he had and how big Jesus made it. He’s also the only one who gave something costly. It was his faith and generosity that led to one of the greatest miracles of all time. We don’t know his name, but we can definitely know his heart. It’s the heart of Kingdom giving.
I want to talk to about the little boy’s heart and how you and I can enter into this story today. Don’t worry, I’m not asking that you give something to me or someone in particular. I’m asking for something much, much bigger, costlier, scarier, and more exhilarating than that.
I’m asking that if, by any chance, you want to see miracles of multiplication, you give everything to Jesus. Every penny, every day.
God began teaching me a lot about giving earlier this year and I’ve had some of the craziest months of my life since then. The first thing you need to understand is that everything you have was given to you by God and therefore you don’t truly own anything. the second thing is just as important: you still have a choice to give it to Jesus.
The little boy’s mom had probably given him his lunch. Share with your friends, Joseph. This lunch was entrusted to him and he had the ability to decide what he wanted to do with it. And even though he was just as hungry as everyone else, he decided he wanted to give it away. That’s pretty amazing. When a hungry kid gives away their food, you know they love you. This kid loved Jesus and he gave him his lunch.
He had no idea what was about to happen.
Some of us need to hear about this little guy and get on our faces and repent. I did. And over the last few months I decided to give as much and as often as I could. None of my resources are mine anyway. I’m just a steward. And I’ve been entrusted with a lot. I have a hundred ideas of how I could spend it on really amazing and productive things. But instead of doing that, I’ve decided to let Jesus figure out what I need. Here’s a few principles of multiplication that I have decided to live out and it’s crazy how God has blessed them.
1. Tithing. Giving the first ten percent of what you make to your local church is actually so much fun! Tithing is a great place to start because to not tithe would be to disobey God. I don’t want to ever do that. So whenever I receive funds, I try to get that ten percent out as fast as possible. If I don’t give it right away, it’ll become more and more difficult to give it back. Also, from what I understand the word tithe means the first tenth. The first of your paycheck is the first part that you spend. Giving it to God is crazy fun.
2. Offerings. After I return the tithe to God, I need to make sure I remember the left over ninety percent that’s in my bank account is still God’s. That means I need to be ready to give it to “everyone who asks you” (Luke 6:30 NIV) in some way. And, if I get a chance to give my lunch to Jesus, I will. Jesus said that “whatever you did for the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40 NIV) and I believe that. If I can buy Jesus gas or give him a pizza or hot coffee when he’s shivering on the cold streets, I want to. Giving beyond the tithe is called giving an offering and God loves it.
Here’s why I’m becoming more and more passionate about giving:
I’ve seen God provide for my needs supernaturally over the last few years. But over the last few months since I’ve been giving consistently and above what is comfortable, he has completely and totally removed all lack. Right now, I’m typing this on a laptop that was a crazy birthday blessing. The car I drive is another crazy story; God made sure I knew He was the one giving it to me. Oh and if you text me with a question about this article, I will respond on a phone that was given to me for Christmas. The list goes on and on. The shoes I’m wearing? A gift. The hoodie? My sister got it for me. I know that the people that I’m surrounded by are incredibly generous, but to make my point, they were probably just as generous before I started consistent giving. Even if they have changed their ways of giving at the same time as I did, “every good and perfect gift is from above.” (James 1:17 NIV) I know the blessing I’m walking in right now comes from him.
Just two weeks ago God made sure I didn’t forget what I’m walking in is a Kingdom principle. Over the course of a few days, I had a few opportunities to bless people financially. One of the opportunities was when I got chat with a young Dad in a line at Sharp Shopper (world’s best grocery by the way). As I checked out in front of him, God told me to pay for his very full shopping cart. I was able to bless my new friend and he’s blown away. A few days went by and then I realized my own funds were a bit tight and I had several expenses I was hoping to pay before I flew to California to visit my fiancee. I wondered, did I out give God? Maybe I took it too far…
God decided to stomp on that little lie. Over the course of the next week I had seven surprise cash donations from friends. I kid you not. That has never happened to me before. I was able to cover everything that I needed to and buy a few things I wanted. It was crazy!
I’m not sharing this to pat my shoulder or flex my giving muscle. I just know that what I’m experiencing is available to anyone who wants it. I have several friends who are leaps and bounds ahead of me but hearing their God-stories doesn’t make me jealous. It just gives me an invitation to greater levels of faith.
So if you are facing lack, if you are feeling “hungry”, in keeping with the feeding of the five thousand story, maybe you should just give your lunch away instead of trying to keep it hidden from those around you. I challenge you to start tithing if you haven’t. Once you have that down, start actively asking God for ways you can give him your lunch. It will be incredible to watch him take the little that you have given and lift it up to the Father. Before you know it, you might be asked to pick up the twelve baskets of leftovers. Even if you don’t, Jesus had lunch because of you. And thousand of other people did too. Pretty solid trade off right?
Written by Tim Ornelas. If you’d like to read more articles, check them out below!