God Can Use the Small Things, Too


But would you give your Whataburger to Jesus?

By Patrick G Howard

The May Focus of the Month is the fifth of the twelve-part series – Making 2019 Your Best Year Yet: Realizing God’s Plan for You. You can read the other parts of the series here:

• January: Do a New Thing (Isaiah 43:19) -> LINK
• February: Begin with the End in Mind (Genesis 1:1) -> LINK
• March: Creating Intrepid Steps (Proverbs 3:5-6) -> LINK
• April: Your Story is Written (Psalm 139:16) -> LINK

So far this year, we have talked about doing some really big things. We started out by talking about doing something new (January). Next you were challenged to create a bold vision for your life (February). Then you were tasked with creating intrepid steps to realize your vision (March). And last month, I gave you the biggest challenge so far – writing your story (April).

I have talked to many in our group. Some are well on the way to completing their challenges, while some have not started; but most are somewhere in between. Regardless of where you are in the process, we are nearing the halfway point in our year, and I would like to shift gears. While it’s a good thing to have bold visions, sometimes the best way to create something big is by doing something small. This month I want to focus on how doing small things can cause big things to happen; and can be the difference between good and great.

One Extra Degree

Think about this example.

Take something as common as water. When you heat it to 211 degrees, it becomes very hot and you can do many great things with it. You can make coffee or tea with it. You can use it to clean dishes. You can make Jell-O. There are hundreds of uses for hot water, but if you heat it just one more degree that same water turns into steam; and now you have something powerful enough to move a locomotive.

That one extra degree is all it takes to go from good to great.

The Feeding of the 5,000

This reminds me of a time when Jesus took something small and did something great with it. Our focus this month comes from the Gospel according to John Chapter 6 – The Feeding of the 5,000.

John 6 (5) Jesus soon saw a huge crowd of people coming to look for him. Turning to Philip, he asked, “Where can we buy bread to feed all these people?” (6) He was testing Philip, for he already knew what he was going to do. (7) Philip replied, “Even if we worked for months, we wouldn’t have enough money to feed them!” (8) Then Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up. (9) “There is a young boy here with five barley loaves and two fish; but what good is that with this huge crowd?”

John 6:5-9

You will recall the rest of the story. Jesus gave everybody there, more than 5,000 people, their fill of fish and bread, and ended up with twelve baskets left over. And while that sounds like a big deal, it is only when you consider how much food Jesus started with, and how big the crowd was, that it becomes a miracle.

It’s a big deal!

First, let’s consider how much food “five barley loaves and two fish” really is. A barley loaf was a flat bread, roughly equivalent to a small pita. The two fish were small, probably about the size of a perch. The total amount of food the boy had with him that day was a meal similar to a can of sardines and a half sleeve of crackers. (I wonder if he had a bottle of Tabasco Sauce with him that day.)

Next, let’s look at how many people were fed that day. We don’t know exactly how many were there. John reported that there were 5,000 people there that day, but he likely only counted the men. We don’t know how many women and children were present. Regardless, the crowd was probably about the size of what you would see on a Friday night in the fall at most any 6A High School football stadium.

Now, imagine what you would think if Jesus said that he was going to feed this football stadium full of hungry people with a Whataburger #2 meal. Oh, and when you take up the leftovers there would be 12 buckets of the Colonel’s original to take home. That’s a miracle!

Don’t you love Jesus’ style?

He could have created this food out of thin air, but instead he used the offering from this boy to create something spectacular. It was so spectacular, in fact, that we’re still talking about it more than 2,000 years later.

Are you like that little boy?

As you go through your day, opportunities present for you to do some small thing that would mean the world to somebody else. When that happens, seize it and let God bless it. It can be something simple, like helping a person in a wheelchair reach something on the top shelf at the grocery store. Maybe you could just say something nice to the lady behind the counter that is having a very bad day. You could let that person with the blinker on merge into your lane. Or, instead of handing that panhandler money, stop and say a prayer with them.

Your Challenge

My challenge to you is to do one small thing each day, and let God bless it. As you do, focus on the Gospel according to John and the day when Jesus fed the 5,000. Remember that God doesn’t need you to do anything grand. He can use the small things, too.