August 20, 2007 Ration
So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten.
This verse comes at the end of the account of the feeding of the five thousand, and I hear an amazing return on the boys investment of sharing. It unfolds like this: A boy shares the small portion of food that he has with Jesus who gives thanks to God and feeds thousands. But the return has not yet stopped. After what the boy had brought had been incredibly multiplied and consumed thousands of times over, his food summary is a net food count greater than his gross food count. The math of Jesus.
Artists, there is so much here for us to learn regarding how we hold what we have. Do we look at a crowd of people and see an opportunity to sell our five loaves and two fish and maybe make $20 bucks while we feed a few people? Or do we look at a crowd of people and see our little portion and say, Lord, I have this because you have given it to me. Take it and give thanks to God, and feed me and these people who are hungry. The boy gained so much more by giving what he had to Jesus, than if he had been a shrewd vendor with the given opportunity.
So lets take stock of what the boy did actually gain. If he would have kept the food to eat himself, his hunger could have been satisfied, and he could have even boasted (however humbly) in his managerial planning skills while thousands of others sat hungry. But we see that he, like a child, did not regard his own hunger as he gave all that he had to Jesus. And we see that he and thousands ate as much as they wanted (vs.11). So, it turns out here that he did gain a satisfied belly even though he gave away his food.
He also gained a front row view to a miracle of God! Who was thinking that Jesus would give thanks to God for such a measly portion and everyone would thereby eat their fill? To see that event unfold before your very eyes would be a most amazing sight! No illusion or joke or dramatic, entertaining song could match the wonder wrought from such a demonstration of the power of God!
When the boy gave Jesus five loaves and two fish, expecting consumption to happen, what quantity of food did he, in effect, end up with? The text says that twelve baskets of bread and fish were collected after all had eaten and were satisfied. Again, the boy gained more than what he started with by giving to God what he had received from God. This is the way of God. And it is the way to experience the fullest possible portion of pleasure to be known with what God has given us for our enjoyment.
Artists, what are we doing with the tiny portion of artistic-food for the masses weve been given? Are we hoping in our little portion, and our shrewdness with it, for our gain and provision? Are we overly protecting our artistic portion as if it is the one who feeds us? Or are we hoping in Jesus and His giving of thanks to God for our nourishment and wonder as we sow it for the benefit of thousands? Do you want to see truly great gain from your little artistic labor? Give your portion to Jesus and ask Him to feed you and the rest of the body though His thanking God for it. And when He takes it from your hands, let it go, and enjoy His wisdom as you experience how it is more blessed to give than to receive. How many baskets full in heaven will you find collected from what youve shared on earth?
© 2007 The Gaius Project