MULTIPLICATION DONE JESUS’ WAY! When Jesus heard that John the Baptist had been murdered “He withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place.” But as usual “the crowds followed Him on foot from the towns.” At this point in the life of Jesus, as recorded in the gospel of Matthew chapter 14 (NIV), there was very little escape from crowds of people following Him no matter where He went. So when Jesus stepped off the boat He found a large crowd of people waiting on Him and as He surveyed the masses, “He had compassion on them and healed their sick.” Jesus was seeking privacy but He found large crowds wherever He went but rather than bemoaning the situation His heart went out to these suffering people and He responded to their needs while neglecting His own desire for a solitary and quiet place at this time. There is a great lesson there for each of us as we attempt to escape from the maddening world around us. Sometimes our desires for solitude and quiet may be interrupted by the more serious demands of those around us and we must make some important decisions. Will I follow my desires or will I meet the needs of others? Will a heart of compassion shine forth and overtake the natural inclination to serve self-first?
As evening approached on that day the Disciples reminded Jesus (like God needed reminding) that the people needed to be leaving so that the people could go and buy themselves some food. Evidently there were no supermarkets in this place. Jesus responded by saying, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” The Disciples could only come up with five loaves of bread and two fish which would not go far in feeding this crowd no matter how small the pieces given to each person were. But Jesus operates on a different multiplication table. Jesus took the loaves and fish collected, prayed to the God of Heaven, gave thanks, broke the bread and the disciples passed the food out to the crowds consisting of “5,000 men besides women and children.” And when they were all “satisfied” (had eaten all they wanted), the Disciples “picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.” Sometimes as followers of Jesus we forget the ability, power and compassion of the one we are following.
We look at our natural, human resources as if that is all that is at our disposal to meet our own needs and the needs of others. Like the Disciples we need to offer God all that we have no matter how little it seems, bath it in prayer to the God of Heaven, and ask Him to multiply it by His multiplication table in the way that best fits His purposes. Sometimes we focus way too much on the circumstances and not enough on the one who has ultimate control over the circumstances. Maybe we need to apply new math to our circumstances; i.e., God’s multiplication tables. After all multiplication done God’s way will produce a miracle.