August 19, 2013

A recent reading of Jesus’ multiplication of the loaves and fishes in Matthew 14 brought new insights I have never before considered. I had always focused on the crowd and the significance of Jesus feeding them, but this time I took special note of the disciples. When Jesus told them to feed the crowd, they clearly saw that there were only five loaves, two fish and multitudes of people in need of food. Yet Jesus was not concerned about the need and the numbers and the limited amount. His concern was that after he had prayed his disciples moved ahead and started to give out what was available. As they did so, the amount increased until all had eaten and were satisfied, with twelve baskets of food left over.

So often in our lives we look at the needs of our community and world and do not know where to begin. We are only one person after all. We may feel that we do not have the time or perhaps the right gifts or credentials to make a difference. It is easy to hold back, feeling like we do not have enough to offer, just like the disciples whose eyes were on the five loaves, two fish and the crowd of thousands.

Yet God calls us to begin, to move forward with what we have. God will take our efforts and provide the increase. We may not completely see the results this side of heaven, but if we are praying and trusting and moving in the right direction, the results will be there in God’s way and time.

St. Therese of Lisieux spoke of doing the small things with great love for God and spent her short life in this pursuit. For St. Therese, her recognition and honor came after she had left this earth. She was not only declared to be a saint, but by Pope John Paul II, she was named as a doctor of the Church, only one of three women ever to receive this honor. Millions of people have read her autobiography, Story of a Soul, and countless lives have been changed.

Have you done something for God today even though it seems small?

Have you prayed for someone, been encouraging to someone, offered kindness to a stranger?

Have you taken a step forward to follow the nudge of God, where as before you have said, “I can’t do that!”

If it seems even to be a small step, do not be concerned, God will amplify your efforts, will take what is seemingly small and make it into
something beyond your imagining.

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