When Jesus told the disciples to feed the crowd, a crowd of 5000 people, not including women and children, they said that what they had wasn't enough. In fact what Jesus wanted them to do was impossible (or so they thought). Among them, the disciples had two hundred denarii. The denarius was a silver Roman coin equivalent to the standard daily wage of a working man. So for Jesus to tell the disciples to feed the crowd, the disciples would need thousands of denarii. An impossible feat, to be sure! They said to Jesus, "We could not earn enough money in six months to feed so many people."
In response, Jesus asked them, "What have you got?" To this they replied, "Five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they among so many people?" The five loaves they spoke of were the size of today's American rolls and the fish were small, like sardines. Such were the "snacks" people carried with them when they traveled. None the less, Jesus said to them, "Bring to me what you have." Then he took the rolls and fish, blessed them, and told the disciples to pass them around to the crowd. Can you imagine what the disciples were thinking to themselves? "Has Jesus gone mad?"
What we learn from this story is that in the hands of the Lord, little is always much. Moses had only a stick in his hand, but with the power of God he was able to divide the sea which made it possible for the Israelites to cross on dry land. And the shepherd boy, David, as he stood before the giant Goliath, had as a weapon only a slingshot with a few stones. Yet by the strength of the Lord he was able to slay the giant and create confusion in the Philistine army. And remember Joshua had only three hundred men in his army, but with God on his side he was able to cause the walls of Jericho to fall down and capture the city. And let us not forget that Jesus started with twelve ordinary men as his disciples but today his followers number in the tens of millions around the world.
The point is this: we may think that we have little ability or talent or other resources to give to the work of God. But if we give Him what we have, there is no telling what He can do with us and through us. As one biblical scholar said, "Jesus is not merely in the business of addition. He specializes in multiplication." Amen.