The feeding of the 5000, found in Mark 6:34-44 is one of the greatest miracles Jesus ever performed. When Jesus fed 5000 people with five loaves and two fish, it was not just a powerful display of His divine power and compassion, but it also holds profound lessons about the transformative power of open-handed generosity.
There are so many lessons in this story…we see the deity of Jesus on full display, we see the compassion of Jesus on the crowd, we see Jesus as the Good Shepherd meeting both spiritual & physical needs of seekers. But there’s also a lesson in this miracle about generosity & living in openhanded abundance.
When the hour gets late and the crowd gets hungry Jesus commands disciples to do impossible. The Twelve ask Jesus to “send them away” but Jesus commands the disciples to “feed them”. The disciples were preoccupied with what they were going to have to spend in order to feed the crowd even though Jesus never mentioned that they need to buy anything.
Jesus simply said, “you give them something to eat”. But even then the disciples were still focused on money because they do a quick cost analysis and determine it will take nearly eight months wages to feed a crowd that size. And they certainly didn’t have that kind of money! Then Jesus asks them a question, the same question we need to ask ourselves…“How many loaves do you have?”. They find a boy who’s mom had packed him a lunch with 5 small loaves of bread and 2 fish. And that’s where the story gets interesting.
Mark 6:41-42 And taking the five loaves and the two fish he looked up to heaven and said a blessing and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the people. And he divided the two fish among them all. And they all ate and were satisfied.
Jesus took the bread & fish, looked up to heaven, and then He blessed and broke the bread. This is important because blessing & breaking always prepare the way for abundance! The Father must allow our lives to be blessed & broken before He can use us. The problem is that we want the blessing without the brokenness but both are necessary to live in abundance.
Sometimes we can get so caught up in our current circumstances that we miss the BIG picture eternally. God’s priority is not our present comfort but rather its our spiritual state. So, sometimes God will allow physical, emotional, or financial brokenness in our lives if that’s what it takes to enrich us eternally.
So how does this relate to our lives, to our generosity, to our finances?
1) Do What Only You Can Do (Mark 6:37-40)
The disciples had two suggestions for solving the problem. Either they could send the people away to get their own food OR raise enough money to buy some bread for everybody.
But how many times have we said something to the effect, “if we only had more money then we could give”? Our first step is not to measure our resources, but to determine God’s will and trust Him to meet the need. And that’s all the disciples could do. They could only obey what Jesus asked them to do because the problem was clearly beyond their resources. If Jesus doesn’t intervene, then it’s not going to happen.
And all we can do is obey…God calls us to GIVE a portion of our income back to Him in an act of worship. When we do, He breaksthe hold stuff has on us and blesses every other part of our lives.
2) Trust Jesus to Do What Only He Can Do (Mark 6:41-42)
Thankfully Jesus does intervene and he turns a poor boys lunch into a heavenly feast! Why? Because God multiplies what is given away.
Notice how the miracle happens…Jesus gave thanks & broke the bread. Then He gave it to the disciples to do what? To give to the people.
So, when did the miracle happen? The miracle had to have happened the moment it left the disciples hands! God can and will bless & multiply whatever we give to Him! The reason many miss out on His blessing is because we are holding stuff with closed fist not open palms.
3) Recognize That a Little Can Become a Lot with Jesus (Mark 6:43-44)
The feeding of the 5000 not only showcases Jesus’ miraculous ability to multiply a small amount of food to feed a multitude, but it also illustrates an important principle of faith. In Mark 6:43-44, we see that not only were the people able to eat until they were full, but there were also twelve baskets of leftovers collected—an abundance that exceeded their initial need. These twelve baskets, one for each disciple, served as a tangible reminder of the astounding truth that when we offer what little we have to Jesus, He has the power to transform it into an overflowing abundance.
This principle of recognizing the potential in the seemingly insignificant applies not only to the physical aspect of provision but also extends to the realm of generosity. Often, we may question the impact of our small acts of kindness or the significance of the resources we have to offer. However, the feeding of the 5000 reminds us that when we surrender what we have to Jesus, no matter how small it may seem, He can work miracles and multiply it beyond our wildest imagination.
When we embrace open-handed generosity, we acknowledge that our role is not to focus solely on the limitations of our resources, but rather to place our trust in the limitless power and provision of our Savior.