Jim Branch: You give them something to eat

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He replied, “You give them something to eat.” They answered, “We have only five loaves of bread and two fish—unless we go and buy food for all this crowd.” Luke 9:13

You give them something to eat. It seems that a significant amount of doing ministry involves figuring out what you’ve got and then figuring out how to give it and who to give it to. You see, God gave you something wonderfully unique and specific, somthing that only you can give. It may feel like only five loaves and two fish among so many, but in His hands it is more than enough to satify a multitude and still have some left over.

“You give them something to eat,” Jesus is saying. “Because I gave you something that only you can give. First give it to me, and then I will give it back to you in abundance. Only then will you be able to give it to them, whoever your ‘them’ may be. And in the giving of ‘it’ to ‘them’ you will find that there is enough to feed you as well.” Incredible.

There is one other small thing to notice in the text however, and it is really not small at all. Once we are willing enough and courageous enough to give Jesus our little loaves and fish, he does something really amazing with it. He takes it, then He blesses it, then He breaks it, and then He gives it. Now all of that sounds pretty great except the breaking part.

Because, it seems, in Jesus’ economy we can’t be multiplied enough to be given, we can only be broken enough to be given. It is in the breaking that the abundance comes. It is in the breaking that the multiplying occurs, just as it will be for each of us. If we really want to have something of depth and substance to give to those around us, it will usually involve some sort of breaking.”

Jim Branch in Reflection on “Give Your Life Away” in The Blue Book: A Devotional Guide for Every Season of Your Life (Scotts Valley: CreateSpace, 2016) 348-349.

Happy Thanksgiving.

I hope today’s reading encourages you to do more than break bread and share a meal with thankfulness in your heart to God. I pray it inspires you to give God whatever you have so it can be broken and distributed widely in abundance.

How will you respond?

If you have giftedness, I pray you put it to work by giving yourself to God in service. If you have financial resources, I pray you put them in play so that God can multiply them to care for many. But don’t forget the lesson from Branch in so doing.

Hold this close to your heart.

You will be blessed in putting your giftedness to work. You will be refilled in abundance for putting the money that you steward in play. You will be renewed and refreshed. But it only happens after you act and allow God to break it.

May your day be blessed as you return thanks by giving!