When Jesus performed the miracle of feeding the multitude with one boy's little lunch, I think He was doing much more than demonstrating His power. He was also showing His disciples (and you and I today as followers of Jesus) how they were to do ministry after He would ascend back into heaven. From this account we see 4 simple lessons on how to do ministry, how to pass out the fish and the bread today. Here is step one in the process.
First, START WITH WHAT YOU HAVE. In Matthew's account, the disciples advise Jesus to send the crowds away because it's late and the place is desolate and they need to eat. Jesus says, "We don't need to send them away! You feed them!" Wouldn't you have loved to have seen the expressions on their face? There is somewhere between 15,000 and 25,000 people present and Jesus says, "You feed them."
Let me put it in a more modern setting. Let's say that I am preaching one Sunday and I just keep going on and on and on. Time is passing by but people are so into the sermon that nobody is leaving (that would no doubt be a miracle on the same par as the feeding of the multitude). Noon passes...1:00 passes; 2:00 passes; 3:00 passes. Finally, my wife walks up on stage and whispers in my ear, "Honey, it's getting late and the people are hungry. Why don't you dismiss the service so they can go home and eat?" Now imagine the look that would cross my wife's face if I looked out over the 600-700 people in the auditorium and responded, "Laura, we don't need to send the crowd away. You feed them!" That's an expression I'm sure that I would not soon forget!
What was the response of the disciples? They said, "Jesus, we only have five loaves and two fish." The disciples didn't think they had enough to do anything worthwhile. But the truth is that the first step to doing anything worthwhile for God is to START WITH WHAT YOU HAVE - no matter how little or insignificant it may seem. So often we think, "If I only...then I would do something worthwhile for God!" We have really good intentions. I'm just not sure that God is all that interested in our good intentions.
So to do ministry today - to pass out the fish and the bread today - we have to start with what we have, no matter how little or insignificant it may seem. So, what do you have? Think about it. In fact, go one better. Make a list. What do you have?
A checking account?
A savings account?
A money market account?
Stocks, bonds or other investments?
Be thorough! Include everything. Why? because ministry starts with what you have!