The Little Things
by Ethelyn Martin
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John 6:11-13 And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would. When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost. Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten.
Sometimes in the stories that are very familiar we miss important lessons.
I had- in the account of the feeding of the 5,000.
We are so caught up in the two small fish and the five loaves of bread that we miss the willingness of the disciples to do whatever Jesus said.
Five thousand men. Some believe with women and children it was probably closer to ten thousand or more. Nevertheless, there were no buffet lines, and He did not tell the people to come up in groups of fifty to get the food. He told the disciples to pass it out.
Can you imagine walking back and forth and back and forth to feed five to ten thousand people? Do you know how long it would take for this to happen? I can assure you, it took much longer to do it, than it does for us to read it.
Would you have gone without grumbling? How long would it have taken to get organized and decide who was taking which group and who was taking the fish and who would pass the bread, and how big a piece should they get, and on and on and on. If you have ever organized anything at your church, you KNOW what I am talking about!
The task of feeding all of these people on the spur of the moment says a lot about these men. For with all of our sophistication and technology it would take months to get this organized. Several hundred people would surely be dead by the time we got the committees together for the first meeting.
But these men, without having the question answered of, “what is so little among so many”, did as Jesus bade them.
We talk about the little boy who gave his lunch to Jesus, and yet for years I have missed, the faith of those twelve men who told that multitude of people to sit down, knowing how little they had to work with. That took a lot of faith in the man Christ Jesus.
Little is much when God is in it, but we better make sure, God is in it. And it was the LORD’s idea. Read it.
Lastly, they cleaned up. Did you miss it?
Twelve men cleaned up after five to ten thousand people.
Fragments of bread and fish.
Without murmuring, complaining, or questioning.
At this moment Peter could have said, “I was counting and Nathaniel only passed out bread to five hundred people. I passed out food to seven hundred and fifty. That is not fair.” Thomas, could chime in,” I doubt that Peter, I saw you sitting down for ten minutes taking a break.”
Surely, I should read that somebody said, “Why can’t these people pick up after themselves?”
“Isn’t that women’s work?”
“Let’s let the kids do it, and treat it like a game. “
I have had to clean up after a meeting with fifty to seventy five people, and it took six or eight of us two or three hours. I cannot imagine picking up half eaten bread, and pieces of fish with my bare hands.
Can you imagine the acres of land they had to cover? Do you know how tired they must have been?
Stop and imagine the multitude of people with full bellies leaving to go home, and twelve grown men looking through the grass for fragments of bread and fish – because Jesus said so.
Again, I am so lazy and so wretched and ashamed that I have complained about doing the little things.
If I would be a disciple then:
I must be willing to be obedient when the task Jesus asks me to do may look impossible.
I must be willing to work with others to accomplish the task.
I should avoid grumbling, fighting, gossip, and criticizing what others on my team are doing.
Don’t make things more complicated than they are.
If the LORD asks me to do what seems overwhelming and impossible, maybe it is to prove me. (John 6:6) He already knows what He is going to do.
I must be willing to pass out bread and pick up fragments because the LORD told me to, and not believe I am too important or too good for that.
I do not need know how when I know WHO.
Got an impossible assignment you have been avoiding. Read John six and let the LORD speak to you.
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Noticing the little things is very important. Sometimes what is omitted is as important as what is said. Have you ever wondered what the disciples thought as they passed out the groceries and noticed that the supply never diminished? Just last night our pastor spoke about noticing the unusual aspects about passages. I find it rather unusual that there is no comment in the text about the disciples wonder and amazement while they were participating in the miracle.
Hmmm! How we neglect to see the little things that matter. It got me thinking. Sometimes we gloss over the Scripture without taking time to allow it speak to us. Your article blessed. Thank you for sharing, Ethelyn.