How Many Loaves Do You Have?
A lesson from Jesus about our limitations.
Jesus informed his disciples that the crowd was hungry, and something needed to be done to feed them.
Then Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion on the crowd because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. And I am unwilling to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way.” (Matthew 15:32)
What the disciples thought
The disciples immediately focused on what they did not have and the challenge of doing what needed to be done.
And the disciples said to him, “Where are we to get enough bread in such a desolate place to feed so great a crowd?” (Matthew 15:33)
Don’t they sound just like you and me?
“This is a lot of people!”
“Where will we find enough food on such short notice?”
“We just don’t have enough resources on hand to take care of such a massive problem.”
All too often, we focus on what we are unable to do — on what we are lacking to do what we would like to do.
What Jesus responded
And Jesus said to them, “How many loaves do you have?” They said, “Seven, and a few small fish.” (Matthew 15:34)
Jesus wasn’t expecting His disciples to do something they could not do.
All He asked was — “What do you have? What can you do?”
When we begin to think about what we cannot do for God because of our age, health, or financial situation, we are doing exactly what Jesus’ disciples did on this occasion.
Do you think Jesus would say to us, “I know your limitations, but that wasn’t what I asked. What do you have — what can you do?”
What Jesus did
Jesus used what little food the disciples had to feed the entire crowd.
And directing the crowd to sit down on the ground, he took the seven loaves and the fish, and having given thanks he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds.
And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up seven baskets full of the broken pieces left over. Those who ate were four thousand men, besides women and children. (Matthew 15:35–38)
The limitations of His disciples did not matter. How inconsequential their worries were — Jesus used what they had to feed everyone.
Your limitations do not matter in your service to God.
In teaching God’s Word, the limitations of your abilities do not matter. The power is in God’s Word (Hebrews 4:12). The gospel is God’s power to save (Romans 1:16–17). He didn’t ask what your limitations were — all He said was “Go” (Matthew 28:18–20).
In giving back to God, the limitations of your financial means do not matter. Remember the poor widow?
Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” (Luke 21:1–4)
Your limitations do not matter. What matters is this: Are you doing what you can do, trusting God with everything?
When you walk with Jesus, your limitations do not matter.
All He asks for is, “What do you have?”