By giving Jesus to the world God demonstrated the fact that He is a giving God. Paul also reminded us of Jesus’ words: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35b NIV).
But many times we give only to find that the need is much greater than we had understood. And one of the oft repeated questions at this phase is how the little we have given would satisfy a greater need. This doubt is characteristic of many who give.
But in the Scriptures we have God’s pattern on this issue. He is asking us to give cheerfully and as we are able with a willing heart. He promises to take care of the greater need in spite of our doubt.
And the way He does that is through multiplication. People can only add; but God multiplies the little that we give to Him!
Example 1 : Elisha (2 Kings 4:42 to 44)
Here we find a man coming from Baal Shalishah. He brought twenty loaves of barley bread. No doubt, the man who brought them had meant it to be given to the prophet. He might never had thought about the company of prophets who lived along with Elisha. But Elisha was concerned about them.
So Elisha asked the servant to give it to the people to eat. By all common sense it was not enough to meet the needs of all the people there. So the servant rightly asked how he could set that twenty loaves before a hundred people?
But Elisha calmly repeated to him to give the loaves to the people to eat. He did this because he relied on the word from the Lord which said that all the people will be able to eat and have some left over. And it happened exactly like Elisha had told.
We find here a pattern emerge: The man who came gave what he had. He only had in mind the need of Elisha the prophet. But then it was known that there was a greater need for a hundred prophets were there along with Elisha.
There was the characteristic moment of doubt because commons sense told that it was impossible with the little to satisfy the greater need.
Yet when the Lord’s word was obeyed, there was multiplication of the loaves. More than that there was even some leftover. So we find here the pattern of Giving » Greater Need » Doubt » Multiplication.
Example 2: Jesus (John 6:1 to 15)
This incident occurred at a time when a great crowd of people had gathered to hear Jesus. They had followed Him because they saw the miracles of healing He had performed on the sick. Seeing the great crowd Jesus asked Philip from where they shall buy bread for these people?
Jesus knew already what He would do. Yet He asked Philip just to test him. Philip replied by saying that eight months of a man’s wages would not buy them enough food for each one to have a bite!
By this time, Andrew (another disciple of Jesus and the brother of Simon Peter) spoke up. He said that there was a boy there who had five small barley loaves and two small fish. In spite of the fact that Andrew saw that the lad had some food and was willing to give that, he asked how far they would go among so many?
But Jesus asked the disciples to have the people sit down. There were about five thousand of them. Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks and distributed to all the people who were seated. It is written that they were given as much as they wanted. He also did the same with the fish.
After they had finished eating, Jesus asked the disciples to collect the leftover so that nothing was wasted. And the disciples were able to collect twelve basket full of pieces of the five barley loaves.
We find here a similar pattern emerge: We find the lad willing to give his five loaves of barley and two small fish. But Andrew, who was instrumental in bringing the boy to Jesus, had his doubt. We can also see that Philip had expressed the same doubt in a different way a while earlier.
But the disciples obeyed the word of Jesus. And they found, to their amazement, that the five barley loaves and two small fish were multiplied to satisfy the needs of five thousand men.
Again, we find that there were twelve baskets of leftover. So we find here the pattern of Giving » Greater Need » Doubt » Multiplication.
Have we all not passed through the phase of doubt following our giving? This phase of doubt is part of the learning process of giving. It is especially true when you give not out of your surplus but by digging out of what you badly need for your use. Then the doubt sets in whether it is worth the trouble giving.
One reason for the doubt is the thought what our little would matter when the need is so great. We think that our little will be just a drop in the ocean. Yet it is important to stop doubting and give.
Only then will you be able to see God’s miracle-working power. He needs the little that we give to work.
Though God can create anything out of nothing, normally He chooses to work with what give to Him. So if we listen to our doubts and stop giving, Jesus has nothing to work with. That means no miracle will result. So God asks us today to stop doubting and just believe.
God gives us opportunities to give. If we can overcome our doubts caused by seeing the great need and give what little we have, we will find God multiply it to fully satisfy the need at hand.
One little thought should be added though. God not only multiplies but also will give a leftover. He delights to give us a double blessing.