GIVING ALL When I was living in Ukraine I traveled by train to teach, do seminars, and preach around the country. I would depart on Friday evening after teaching my last class, and return on Monday morning in time to teach that morning again at the seminary. The train was slow, very uncomfortable, and always an overnighter. The cars were often too hot, or too cold. I would have to share a sleeper with a stranger, and often they would be drunk. On top of that many on the train did not practice good hygeine, and by the end of the trip the toilets were overflowing and running into the corridors. It offended all of my western sensibilities, and I could never sleep.There were not typically dining cars, so you took food with you. There were certain stations along the way where you could get out and buy something to eat from the locals. It was typically bread rings and dried fish. I suppose the fish had been dried in salt, or had been smoked. It was a whole fish—head, eyes, fins, and tail. The people seemed to enjoy it as they pulled the meat off the bones and ate it. I was never adventurous enough to try it. It does, however, remind of this story.In Matthew 14, Mark 6, Luke 9, and John 6 you can read the account of the miraculous feeding of the 5000 by Jesus. The hour was getting late. The people would have to go home, and they were getting hungry. Some had come from a long distance, and they needed to eat. It was a large crowd—5000 men, and with women and children there may have been up to 20,000 there! So Jesus sent his disciples through the crowd to look for food. Only Andrew found a boy with a small lunch. He had five loaves (probably pitas) and two fish (probably dried for preservation). Jesus blessed them, and broke them, and sent them out to feed the crowd. In the end the Bible says that twelve baskets full were left over after everybody ate their fill. That was more than they started with!The people had been following Jesus all day. He was doing miracles, and preaching the Kingdom of God, but after that many followed Him for the loaves and fishes. Many were following Him for spiritual sustenance, but soon many were following Him for more fleshly reasons—hoping Jesus would feed them.My thoughts go to the boy with the lunch. Andrew brought him to Jesus bearing his meager lunch. His mother had no doubt prepared for him to eat that day. It had lasted through the day so far, but the trip home may have been a long one. It was all he had. Now Jesus was requesting him to share it with this huge crowd of people. What must he have been thinking? It was obvious to his eyes that there wasn’t enough for everybody there, but maybe—just maybe— he had seen Jesus work miracles before. Maybe it was his child-like faith. I think about the young child who overhears his parents worrying about a big bill looming over them. The child runs to his piggy-bank and gives the $1.32 from inside, and believes that it will be enough. I am taking about that kind of selfless faith! Whatever the situation was, the boy gladly gave his lunch to Jesus, and he saw Jesus multiply his lunch and feed thousands! I would have loved to hear that boy tell his story when he got home!Sometimes we are in the same place in our lives. We are standing before the Lord, and He is asking us to give all we have. Human logic tells us it is not enough, but the Lord does not divert His eyes from us. Sometimes we respond with great joy, and other times we find it so very hard. What will we do? I believe that the reason that this miracle is the only one mentioned in all four Gospels is this: we can trust Jesus with everything we have! He can use it to bless others, but in the end we will have more than when we started. It is not like investing everything we have in the plans and schemes of men. It is an act of faith that God can do exceedingly and abundantly more than we can ask or think. It is like that old song of the church days, “Little is much when God is in it!”