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What's in Your Hand?
by Mary Elder-Criss
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What’s In Your Hand?
By: Mary Elder-Criss

Her heart was exceedingly heavy. She was literally at the end of her rope. There was no food left in the house, save for a tiny bit of flour in the bin, and a little oil in a jar. Slowly, methodically, with tears dripping down the end of her nose, she gathered the sticks.

“I will build a small fire, and prepare the last of my food for myself and my son, so that we may eat it, and then wait for death.”

Her chore complete, she turns to head back to her humble house, when a voice hails her.

“You there! Please bring me a little water in a cup, which I may drink.”

Looking up, she sees a man, sitting outside the gates of the city, looking weary and thirsty. As she turns to fetch him a cup of water, he stops her.

“Please bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.”

Dismayed, the woman replies, “But sir, as the Lord your God lives, I do not have bread, only a handful of flour in a bin, and a little oil in a jar; and see, I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die.”

The man, who was called Elijah, said to her, “Do not fear; go and do as you have said, but make me a small cake from it first, and bring it to me, and afterward make some for yourself and your son. For thus says the Lord God of Israel: “The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the Lord sends rain on the earth.”

So the woman did as Elijah said, and she and her household ate for many days.
1 Kings 17:8-15

Ever felt like this widow woman? You have given until you have nothing left. Your resources are almost depleted. Your trust and your faith have given way to fear and anxiety. You are so overwhelmed by your circumstances that you forget the miracles God can do with what is in your hand, if you only offer it up to Him.

In times of distress, we often want to cling to what we have left; whether it is a little bit of flour and oil, our time, our family, or whatever resources we may have. When we are in great need, it is hard for us to give something out of our need. Yet, it is this kind of giving that involves our faith. We must overcome our fear and realize that with this kind of sacrificial giving, we are opening the doors to God’s blessings.

Many times, the reason we are reluctant to give is because we, like the widow woman, are fearful. Perhaps you have been asked to teach a Sunday school class, or participate in a ministry at church, and you do not feel qualified.

“I’m not the right person for the job, I’m no scholar, I have so little to give. Surely there must be someone else who is more suited for the job. The Pastor just needs to look elsewhere.”

In Matthew Chapter 14, Jesus had departed to a deserted place by Himself, after receiving the news of John the Baptist’s death. He went away to grieve alone, but when the multitudes heard it, they followed Him on foot from the cities.

When Jesus went out, He saw the great multitudes and He was moved with compassion, and He healed their sick. Needs and suffering never take a break, yet Christ is always willing to meet our needs.

When it was evening, His disciples came to Him, saying “This is a deserted place, and the hour is already late. Send the multitudes away, that they may go into the villages and buy themselves food.”

But Jesus replied, and said to them, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”

And they said to Him, “We have here only five loaves and two fish.”

Jesus replied, “Bring them here to Me.” Then He commanded the multitudes to sit down on the grass. He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitudes.

So they all ate and were filled, and they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments that remained.

Christ’s disciples come to Him, stating the obvious. They are in a deserted place, with little food, and many people. “Send them away, Lord, so that they may eat.” Christ replies, telling them there is no need to send them away, “You feed them.” The disciples protest, saying, “We have ONLY five loaves and two fish. How are we supposed to feed all those hungry people with what is in our hand?”

The disciples were looking at the problem in the natural. Faced with overwhelming circumstances of feeding five thousand men, besides the women and children, with five loaves and two fish, they forgot what God could do with such a small amount. If the disciples had kept those five loaves and two fish for themselves, they would have each gotten about a bite or two of fish, and maybe a piece of bread. But because they offered it up to the Lord, and He blessed it and multiplied it, and they gave to the others first, they each came back with a basket full of bread and fish for their own consumption. As my pastor likes to say, “They not only got their blessing, they got a basket to boot.”

Today, if you too are feeling overwhelmed by your circumstances, if it seems you have little to give, and couldn’t possibly make a difference, remember the widow and the disciples. Neither had much, yet they offered it up to God, and by doing so, were enormously blessed.

Stop and ask yourself today, “What’s in my hand for God to multiply?”

Copyright 2004

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