“One day a man arrived from Baal Shalishah. He brought the man of God twenty loaves of fresh-baked bread from the early harvest, along with a few apples from the orchard. Elisha said, ‘Pass it around to the people to eat.’ His servant said, ‘For a hundred men? There’s not nearly enough!’ Elisha said, ‘Just go ahead and do it. God says there’s plenty.’ And sure enough, there was. He passed around what he had—they not only ate, but had leftovers.” 2 Kings 4:42-44 (MSG)
When we were a child, our parents or a guardian took care us. You can’t go out and get a job when you are seven years old in order to provide for all of your needs. But, as we get older and become a provider for ourselves and our family, it can be easy to completely rely on our own ability. Instead of doing our best and looking to God as our ultimate provider, we can find ourselves depending on ourselves and no one else. Then, when God asks us to step out in faith, it can be difficult to take the leap.
Elisha had been Elijah’s protege. Elijah was a mighty man of God and had seen God do the miraculous. In 2 Kings 2, Elijah went to be with God, and left Elisha behind. Elisha had experienced God parting the Jordan River; he had seen God miraculously heal people. As he faced another situation that required faith, his faith muscles had already been exercised. His confidence was not in the physical provisions but rather the God who provides. In contrast, his servant simply saw the situation as it appeared. They were going to try to feed 100 men with limited resources. He probably counted the people in his mind then recounted the bread and apples. And each time he did the math, there wasn’t enough. It just didn’t make sense. How could they tell all of these people that they were going to feed them when there wasn’t enough? He probably feared that Elisha would over-promise and underproduce. Maybe the servant was trying to shield Elisha’s reputation. But Elisha had eyes to see more than what was visible, and he knew that the miracle was not solely dependent on him. He was not living out of lack but understood God’s abundant provision. As the food was passed around, the servant’s jaw must have dropped a little. How could they have leftovers? There wasn’t supposed to be enough. It is easy to live life out of our lack. We understand personal finances and scarcity. Money is finite, meaning that there is an end to our resources. It is not unlimited. However, in God’s economy, I believe that he views it much differently. He owns everything, so He is not limited in what He can supply. There is not a cap or limit to God’s blessings. It is interesting how God provides in plenty in the Bible. When Elisha had only twenty loaves of bread to feed many people, there were leftovers. God doesn’t just add to the original amount; he multiples it. Quite honestly, if God says there’s plenty, who are we to argue with him? Who are we to not take Him at His word? But there is one interesting component: the bread was not multiplied until it was released from the servant’s hands. Many times, we hold onto our resources, time, and talents, staring at them and waiting for them to be multiplied. When they are not, we feel justified in our original reasoning that God does it for someone else, but just not us. Sometimes I think God asks me to give simply because it reminds me that it is not about me and that my resources are not “mine.” It all belongs to Him. And, when my posture turns, my hands are open, and I am reminded of that truth, I am positioned to receive far more than I could hold onto out of my own accord. Open up your hands and watch God multiply as you give.
Scripture taken from THE MESSAGE. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.