There’s a story in the Bible you’ve probably heard before. It’s a popular story about how Jesus was able to turn a small amount into more than enough. In this story, Jesus asks His disciples to feed a very hungry crowd of 5,000 people, but they only have five loaves of bread and two fish to feed them. They bring what they have to Him and Jesus miraculously turns that small amount of food into enough to feed every single person in the crowd with leftovers. It’s yet another example in the Bible of how God provides for us in miraculous ways and how He loves us by meeting our needs.

A year ago, a friend of mine (hi, Jenn!) was telling me about how she was studying the story of Jesus feeding five thousand people in the book of Mark, and in doing so, a question popped into her mind. She, like me, knew this story very well – having learned it over and over as a child and in many a Sunday sermon at church. But this time, something stood out to her, and thankfully she shared it with me because I think about it all the time… It’s completely changed the way I look at my life.

Let’s take a look at the story:

By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples came to him. “This is a remote place,” they said, “and it’s already very late. Send the people away so that they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.”
But he answered, “You give them something to eat.”
They said to him, “That would take more than half a year’s wages! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?”
“How many loaves do you have?” he asked. “Go and see.”
When they found out, they said, “Five—and two fish.”
Then Jesus directed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish. The number of the men who had eaten was five thousand.” – Mark 6:35-44

Now, I want to pose the same question to you that my friend asked me a year ago. Let’s turn to verse 38 again, when Jesus asks His disciples to take an inventory of what they have:

“How many loaves do you have?” he asked. “Go and see.”
When they found out, they said, “Five—and two fish.”

Here’s the question.

We know that Jesus is both fully God and fully man. Didn’t He already know how much food they had? Why, then, would He ask them to go and see how many loaves they had and come back and report that number to Him?

Jesus told them to go and see… it was an invitation to go back, take an inventory of what they already had, so that they could see what He was capable of doing. Because sometimes, in order for our hearts to be prepared for the miracle to come, we must first take an inventory of the blessings we already have.

– When we take inventory of what we have, we are reminded of all the good He has done in our lives thus far.
– When we are reminded of all the good He has done in our lives, our hearts become more readily open to trusting in His goodness, sovereignty and love.
– And then, all of the sudden, what we already have begins to turn into more than enough, because we know that He’s a God that provided for us then and will provide for us again.

And right now, in the midst of the COVID19 pandemic, I believe that Jesus is inviting us to go and see for ourselves – to take an inventory of all that He has already done for us in order to prepare our hearts for all that He is going to do!

So… instead of freaking out about the unknown, let’s take inventory:

As stores are running out of inventory, take an inventory of all that you’re blessed enough to have or to have access to. Then consider those who can’t say the same – children who rely on school meals to eat for the day or parents who must lean on the local food banks to feed their families. Pray for them and practice gratitude for your inventory.

As people all over the world are falling ill, take an inventory of your health and practice gratitude for the healthiest parts of your body. Then, take it a step further and take inventory of all the times your body has been hurt or sick (broken bones, surgeries, flu season…) and remember how God healed you every time. Practice gratitude for your inventory and pray for those who are sick and those who are taking care of them.

As you shelter in place in your home, take inventory of what you have – a home to go to… technology to use to connect with others… music and tv to entertain yourself… Then consider the people and children whose homes aren’t a safe place (child abuse, domestic violence, those who have no one to turn to and are lonely…) Pray for them, and practice gratitude for who you have.

As the economy crashes, take inventory of all the times the Lord has provided for you in the past. What if you considered that every single penny you’ve ever had to your name was a blessing from God? How much easier would it be, then, to trust that He will provide for you in the uncertainty of this economic downturn?

How many loaves do you have? Go and see…

Take an inventory of your life, and report back to Him with gratitude…

… then watch as He turns what you have into more than enough.

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