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Meager Offerings

If miracles happened all the time, we’d call them ‘normals’. - heard in a sermon


Happy New Year! I wonder if your happy new year started out looking much like your sad old year. A new year does hold promise, new beginnings and the beautiful turning of time. It also holds the joys and pains we've accumulated over life's journeys. For everything, there is a season. For the better part of 2022, I’ve been praying for a miracle. New year; same prayer. I need a miracle.


Maybe you do, too.


But what happens when the miracle doesn’t arrive on our doorstep 24 hours after we put the {Amazon} order in? What happens when we are thrust into a waiting far longer than the Starbucks drive-thru? How quick are we to stomp our feet in protest and tantrum when our miracle doesn’t show up dressed in bling and beauty but instead looks frumpy and plain; in need of a makeover?


It’s hard, this miracle-waiting. It’s harder, this holding on to Hope and Healing when you neither feel hopeful or healed.


The seeds of this poem were planted in my head and heart some time circa 2017/2018. A trusted Pastor Counselor Mentor Friend (because he was all those) was giving me an eternal perspective about the economy of God. Though I was forlorn and discouraged about a ‘wasted life’ with little reward, he challenged this melancholic mindset that had created muddy ruts in my psyche. Negative pathways have a tendency to run deep in those of us who feel keenly, who have faced heavy wounds at the hands of others or who did not see hope or healing modeled well or consistently. But why blame others? Sometimes, negative potholes are a choice. No matter, in trying to flip the script— my beloved counselor encouraged me with the miracle of Jesus feeding the 5000. He hyper-linked me to the God who multiplies our meager offerings— and reminded me that what I have to give to Jesus was (and is) the stuff of miracles once in the Lord’s Hands.


The miracle of the feeding of the 5000 is the only miracle recorded in every Gospel of the New Testament (that is, the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John). The boy gave his loaves and fishes to Jesus. Jesus did the rest. Jesus did the math. Jesus did the multiplying. All were fed and there was some leftover.


So sister, give what you have to God. All is not lost. Offer up what is in your hands, and He will bless it. He will break it. He will make a miracle out of your scant reduced-lunch-money to feed thousands.


Whatever is in your hands, give it to Jesus. That is where the miracle begins. Whatever emotion, whatever relationship, whatever situation or circumstance that seems as daunting as feeding 5000 men (plus women and children from John 6, Holy Bible) with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish on a hot summer day; on a hill in the middle eastern desert wilderness, place it in the Hands of the great multiplier of blessings. Place it in the capable Hands of Jesus.


Truth is, not everyone who received the miracle of loaves and fishes knew they were hungry that day. Turns out, fish and barley bread might not have ‘hit the spot’ for everyone picnicking at the healing festival — but the miracle was probably more for those who lacked faith than it was for the hungry.


I think I’m both hungry and faithless sometimes. I know I don’t always trust my offering will be multiplied. I’ve ‘grown up’ way past expecting the unexpected to create miraculous moments— I’m grown. Why believe such childishness?


It might just be that I will be the 4999th person or the 14,999th woman to be served from the miracles of Jesus. It might just be that waiting that long for a miracle is absolutely worth it. And it certainly is true that the miracle of Jesus — in this story— included the participation of a little child giving his all.


Miracles start with Jesus, not me.


And Jesus is a generous joyful giver. He is compassionate. He sees our need.


Just think, Jesus had just learned his cousin, friend, ministry partner and someone He was especially close to spiritually had died. John the Baptist and Jesus knew each other since birth. John performed Jesus' baptism. John was His biggest cheerleader, as it were — a great confidant and Prophet preparing the way of The Lord. Jesus called him the greatest man to have ever lived. He was a good and holy man. He had died a gruesome and seemingly senseless death— as if on a dare and a really rash vindictive promise.


Jesus wanted to be alone. He looked for solitude. This was a great loss. A sudden loss.

A deep grief. This was a public humiliation of John's memory. This was the brutal murder of a dear friend and family member.


But the crowds of upwards to 15,000 people followed Him. Every Gospel writer says He had compassion on the crowds and began to heal their sick.


Miracles start with Jesus’ compassion, not my need.


Before he ever fed the multitudes, He was loving and healing. He was giving of Himself beyond His own grief and human pain. When pressed in by deafeningly loud crowds, needy and sick, Jesus worked miracles. Despite wanting to to be left alone in a quiet place to rest and mourn, His compassion prevailed. His selflessness won the day.


And so, I come hungry. I come in need of healing. I come to Jesus for a miracle. And I come as a child bringing all I have.


I will give to Him, in faith, what I thought would nourish me. And I will trust His compassion, multiplied. I will trust that I will go away full. I will believe my paltry offering will become a feast for many. I will gather the leftovers as a reminder that His miracles are out of the generous and lavish abundance of His love.


“He giveth more grace as our burdens grow greater,

He sendeth more strength as our labors increase;

To added afflictions He addeth His mercy,

To multiplied trials He multiplies peace”

Annie Flint, He Giveth More Grace


I need a miracle.

Maybe you do, too.

Give what you have.

Give what you are to Jesus.



Meager Offerings


You said to come as a little child, Lord

And I came to You with clenched newborn fists


Offered up fresh and full of that baby smell

Much like my little grandchildren,

brand new, hungry for life

Crying out in a cold world for warmth


You said to have faith like a little child, Lord

And I came to You with mustard seeds,

clasped in my toddler hands

Offered up much like the wishes and the dandelions

my grandchildren thrust up to me,

big-eyed and generous


You said You knew me since before birth

Tucked away in my mother’s womb

And that I could know You too

From cradle to tomb


You said Your mercies are new every morning

As sure as the sun is faithful

You too are faithful in my childish faithlessness

You said that You multiply blessings

And that a child’s loaves and fishes

Will feed thousands

If given to Your mighty Hands


So, Lord

I gave you my offering

Sometimes, a widow’s mite

Sometimes, my most perfect sacrifice


But I did give all that I was

All that I am

I gave what I had

I placed them in your Hands


But the harvest seems barren

The fruit, withered vines

The seed cast on hard soil

The reaping unforgiving, unkind


You said to come as a little child

Unclench my fists, Lord

You said to have childlike faith

Let me grasp only You


You’ve made big promises

To me, your child

And then you said

Let the little children, come


So I come to you

I come, nearly orphaned

My meager offerings, given

I come to you, openhanded

You ask for my last bit of oil

My last bit of flour

And I spent it, I lent it

I rendered it


Make miracles out of my life

Offered up just as I am

Refill the oil of gladness

Make me a tender child, again


10:32 pm

10/2/22


Inspiration:

Matthew 18:1-5

Matthew 17:20,21

Psalm 139

Psalm 22:9,10

Jeremiah 1:5

Lamentations 3:22-26

The Feeding of the 5000

Matthew 14; Mark 6; Luke 9; John 6

Luke 21:1-4

Mark 5

Proverbs 22:6

2 Kings 4:1-7

Psalm 61:3



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