February 21, 2008

The Rule of Multiplication

4th grade math is a giant step up from last year. CJ's learned simple geometry, fractions, and division. They've spent a significant amount of time honing their multiplication skills. Practically every night we have a math sheet that includes multiplying a 3-digit number by a 2-digit number. Thankfully, she has her dad's math ability.

Did you know Jesus was a math whiz?

When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, "Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?" He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.

Philip answered him, "Eight months' wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!"

Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, spoke up,"Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?"

Jesus said, "Have the people sit down." There was plenty of grass in that place, and the men sat down, about five thousand of them. Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.

When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, "Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted." So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.
~John 6:5-13

Of the miracles recounted in the Gospels, this is the one I most wish I'd witnessed (except for the resurrection). Jesus took something tangible yet meager, and provided for the needs of those around Him. I imagine it was a sight to behold!

Jesus has quite a crowd following Him. He sees they were hungry, and presents the problem to Philip. Practical Philip, who immediately looks at the situation from a logical standpoint and determines they don't have enough money to solve the problem. He doesn't consider that the One who created food is standing right beside him.

Andrew looks for a solution, but what he's able to find is insufficient.

And then there's the boy. He gives everything he has with him. He knows exactly what was in his basket...a paltry lunch for such a large crowd. Yet he watches as Jesus uses it to solve a seemingly unsolvable problem.

Food. Time. Money. Patience. Forgiveness. Whenever there's not enough, Jesus will provide. But only if we give Him what we do have first.

Perhaps, like Philip, we look at our checkbooks or calendars and we don't see how to solve the problem. We're focused on what we see, and we lose sight of the fact that the One who governs time and economics is right by our side.

Maybe, like Andrew, we go out looking for solutions but come up short. What we find is woefully insufficient to address the need before us.

When we take the little we have and place it into Jesus' hands, He multiplies it to cover the need. When I give my day to Him, I'm able to accomplish more. When I hand Him the bills and the checkbook, He makes sure there's enough (and often some left over). When I don't feel I can swallow one more dose of pre-teen attitude, He makes it go down a little smoother.

It's the Rule of Multiplication.

Maybe math is my favorite subject after all!


Kimberly said...

If Jesus is the one doing the math, I'm thinking I like math a lot better now, too!
I have got to stop feeling bad about having so little to offer Him. He just wants what I have. He already knows it isn't much. He just wants to show me what HE can do with my little. It is all about Him, not me.
Thanks for the reminder!

Anonymous said...

Hey there! I'm not sure why I never clicked on your link to the ABC's of living simply before today, but I am so glad I finally did! I am really struggling with working outside the home, being wife and mommy to a 5 and 3 year old, and telling people "no" when I'm asked to take things on for fear of upsetting someone. I love your blog, and I appreciate that you are pursuing peace and simplicity in your life. I pray that I can be successful in doing the same! God Bless!

Joanne : The Simple Wife said...

I loved this, Melissa. Thanks. I'm hoping/praying for a division of labor and a multiplication of time/energy. With Jesus math, it can happen!


Mike and Debbie said...

I was browsing blogs today and ran across yours. I have enjoyed your blogs and also several of the links you have on here.

I enjoyed your multiplication story. I love math and often see things pertaining to God from a mathematical perspective.


His Girl said...

When I don't feel I can swallow one more dose of pre-teen attitude, He makes it go down a little smoother.

amen. and amen.

Alana said...

I have found this to be true time and time again. I love this story about Jesus. Wish I could have seen it, too.

Tiffany said...

I can't say I share a love for math, but I have seen Jesus "multiply" many times in my own life. I think the thing that stuck out the most to me here is giving everything you have, no matter how small. To give it all up to Him, makes life so much easier- now if I could just remeber that all the time! Blessings! Hope you have a wonderful restful weekend.

Chris @ Come to the Table said...

Loved this post Melissa!

I have often viewed my life as this little boy's lunch, "how could this little bit help or how could God use me?"

Thanks for the reminder that God is in the business of multiplying.

mholgate said...

Wow Melissa! I came to visit your site by Rachel Anne's Home Sanctuary site. I was looking through some of the housekeeping mission statements and I really liked yours. You have deep insight. Thank you for sharing your thoughts here. I've been working on my own mission statement. Do you mind if I steal a few elements of yours?

In Christ,

Girl Raised in the South said...

Great stuff here, lots to think on. Like you, Math isnt my favorite subject, but this makes me think twice.

Kelly said...

Beautiful reminder to me that He is able to do "abudantly, increasingly" more than I can imagine.

Lisa Spence said...

Well said, my bloggy friend. To give it all to Him, to use as He desires, to see all glory given to Him and Him alone, and know that what He gives is abundantly, exceedingly more--even 12 baskets leftover kind of more!

Janelle said...

That is my kind of math! Great analogy.

Mary@notbefore7 said...

I love this story too and just read it today in Matthew. I lvoe your insight into it. So often I am like andrew, and find my solutions coming up short.