Anglican Morning Devotion for 3 July 2021 Anno Domini
A ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“And his disciples say unto him, Whence should we have so much bread in the wilderness, as to fill so great a multitude? 34 And Jesus saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven, and a few little fishes.” (Matthew 15:33-34; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
The Words of our Lord – every single one of them – is packed with power and meaning. It is like a saber that points in every direction to clear doubt and confusion and to condemn lies. “How many loaves have ye?” such a simple question with profound meaning! Our Lord Jesus Christ knew how many loaves were on hand before asking. He knew the few loaves on hand would not begin to feed the 4,000 men present plus the women and children. It was a test of faith, and proof of its power. Neither did He need the seven loaves and few fishes since it was His Word that created the heavens, the earth and all that is in them. But He allows us to have a role in His miraculous works. Like a doting father who allows his little child to drive the crooked nail into the classic bookcase he is making, Jesus makes allowances for our frailty in helping our Father’s work.
Our Lord often asks the same kind of question before calling a minister into His service. “What have you to offer?” Or, before calling His chosen to the Throne of Grace. If we are honest, we have NOTHING to offer our Lord except our hearts filled with the love of His own provision. None are worthy to be citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven, but those whom He calls, He enables to perform according to His purpose. We would rightfully answer to His call, “Nothing, my Lord and Savior.” It is the only acceptable answer. It is only when we recognize our complete unworthiness that the Lord is able to take us up and mold us. It is His righteousness – His worthiness – that makes us suitable for His service. “And they said, Seven, and a few little fishes.”
The Lord will take what we have and multiply it beyond our wildest imaginations. He will take our few loaves and two fishes as earnest for the building of a mansion beyond the Gates of Splendor. He will warmly receive the widow’s two mites and multiply them in eternity to more than all the wealth of the world while rejecting the golden nuggets of the Pharisee.
When the Lord receives our pitiful offerings of small sacrifices, all He commands is that we step aside in our weaknesses and witness His power to build the new man of His creation. “And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground.” All things of the Lord is done in good order and with reverential obedience. Our good works belong to Him, not to us. Only our failures belong to us. All of our good works belong to Him – “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
“And he took the seven loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks, and brake them, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.” Even the Son of God deems prayer of thanks essential – “He gave thanks before feeding the multitude. He allows His ministers a hand in His service – “ and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.” What a supreme honor to be used of the Lord in preaching His Word and feeding His people. How strange that even one such as I am privileged to write of His love for you and all His Church!
The abundance of God can never be exhausted. Even after all are fed and satisfied – both at the Lord’s Table and in Service of the Church – there is a mighty abundance held in reserve in the seven baskets of God’s provision – each loaf became a basketful left over. God always gives us more than that with which we began. Remember Job!
“And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.” (Job 42:10)