one-thousand-gifts

Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common.

Acts 4:32

Then Jesus lifted up His eyes, and seeing a great multitude coming toward Him, He said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?” But this He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do.

John 6:5-6

Ten and two refers to a type of driving that is considered safe—it is a balanced position when taking on the road of life. Balance is thought to be both an offensive and defensive position when life squares up head on. It’s a position that has the fortitude and steadiness to take on the various rhythms of life: hunger, lack, instability, and more. As the song and seasons change, God’s word—in this instance, five and two—should never change. Biblically, five is a number that represents God’s grace and favor. Additionally, two is a number that represents agreement and protection. Amid what many would consider a crisis, John 6:6 says that Jesus knew what He would do. Jesus found himself serving the people and healing the sick, after journeying to His destination out of grief, yet finding himself in a place of compassion. His disciples came to him saying that it was time to go. Their admonition seemed reasonable. Let the people go so that they can provide for themselves. The hour was late, and the location was desert. The end time had come because of human need: hunger. But Jesus knew something the disciples had yet to grasp. He always has an answer to hunger. His answer is you. Jesus’ response confirmed what the people had need of was present. He also confirmed that the disciples had a role to play in the answer. His response to the disciples was: “YOU give them something to eat.” The disciples replied with an analysis of their perspective: lack. Lack of vision, understanding, and divine revelation. They believed what they had was insignificant and irrelevant to the need at hand. Jesus, a gracious teacher, responded with an instruction the reverberates into this current moment: YOU feed them. What do you have? What can you bring, however small and insignificant in your eyes? There was a boy who gave all he had, yet it was more than most—and it fed an army. What are you willing to leverage for the sake of the bride of Christ?

Five and two was the answer, and Jesus cared for the people through community, which is a form of harmony. It was the idea of “all things in common” as described in Acts 2. If you have ever played a part of any musical ensemble, band, or symphony, you know that the most beautiful type of harmony requires the active and consistent leveraging of oneself. The story of the feeding of the five thousand (in addition to women and children) is in all four gospels, which means that this narrative, the principles that it intends to communicate, the hope that we can cling to, is of utmost importance. This is a reality, as modeled in the rule book of the believer, that we should lean into, glean from, and apply with all due diligence. This is a story about the power of generosity in the context of community: five and two.

During conversation about the care and wellbeing of the crowd, it was found that there was an unlikely one, a little boy who had a lunch that consisted of five loaves of bread and two fish. Was he the only one that had something to offer? The Bible does not say. Was what he had to offer sufficient, blessed by the Master’s hands? Absolutely. Does this excuse the others who may have had something to give, but didn’t? Absolutely not. In Genesis 1:22 God says, “be fruitful and multiply.” This a command to all redeemed humans. We often look at that passage exclusively within the context of a marital relationship, but the reality is that we as a people, created male and female, in the context of community (in the image of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit), are expected to be fruitful and multiply what God has blessed us with. Fruitful means to bring forth, to grow or increase.

Five and two is fruitfulness as commanded in the Garden of Eden, and grace exercised in communion. This is “all things in common” as mentioned in the Acts 2 church, a means of stability to the body of Christ through Jesus. Five and two is a leveraging of our personal desires, intentions, expectations, and resources as an invitation to come and see what the Lord will do. We must keep our hearts at five and two. We must extend our resources at five and two. As believers, and witnesses of Jesus, we must follow Him at five and two.

The generosity and sacrifice of a small boy, and the faith of the disciples who were willing and obedient, produced the unexpected: thousands of people were filled with lunch for one. The Greek word in this story means to fill or satisfy the desire of. We often read this story and think that this boy’s meager sacrifice was stretched unto barely enough. Not true! There was abundance—so much so that there were twelve baskets of leftovers! When we obey and leverage what we have, the filling comes from the well that never runs dry. The super, with our natural, always produces abundant results.

REFLECT & RESPOND

• How is your life different because of the story of the five fish and two loaves of bread?

• What role has sacrificial giving played in your life?

• In your opinion, is Jesus still moving in the church today, as he did in the desert of Bethsaida? If so, what is your evidence?

• Dream big—how could your gift, whatever the size and/or design, make a difference today?

• In your opinion, how does the grace of God and the agreement of man produce a sustained miracle?

PRAYER

God of more than enough, all sufficient Father, I ask that you make me an answer and solution. Grant me clarity and understanding, but most of all make me obedient to the clarion call to lean into the five and two. As I agree with heaven by way of my actions, I ask that you would do exceedingly, abundantly above all that I could ever ask or think. I ask that you bless my little and make it much. Make me a wonder in the earth that brings you glory. Make what I consider meager, a miracle. I will forever bless you because you are worthy. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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