Matthew 14:13-21 Sharing Hope with Others
Matthew 14:13-21 “Sharing Hope with Others” – a sermon about overcoming the scarcity mentality with a multiplication mentality through blessing.
Illustration: Fish City Grill
I went to go see Guardians of the Galaxy Friday evening. Before the film, I met up with Josh and his friend Greg at Fish City Grill. I read about the restaurant that it was highly rated by TripAdvisor. So I ordered the fish tacos. They were delicious. They were also $11 for two fish tacos. You can’t feed even one person with 2 fish tacos. How do you feed 5000 families with 2 fish tacos?
It takes faith.
This is a story that teaches about faith.
““But we only have five loaves and two fish here,” they said to Him. “Bring them here to Me,” He said.” (Matthew 14:17–18, HCSB)
It took faith for the young boy to give up the food for his entire family and give it to Jesus. It took faith for Abraham to leave his country and go where God told him to go. It takes faith for a church to share hope with the community. It takes faith for you and I to follow God and do what He tells us to do.
This is also a story that teaches about multiplication.
“Then He commanded the crowds to sit down on the grass. He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed them. He broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. Everyone ate and was filled. Then they picked up 12 baskets full of leftover pieces!” (Matthew 14:19–20, HCSB)
God is on the business of multiplication. We think in terms of addition. We think: 2+2=4; 4+4=8, 8+8=16. We think that we add people to the church and to the kingdom of God.
God thinks in multiplication. He thinks: 4×4=16; 8×8=64; 5 loaves and 2 fish = food for 5000 families.
God did it with Elijah and the widow of Nain.
God did it with the people in the wilderness.
God did it with Hezekiah against the Assyrians by providing an unseen army.
God did it here with this little boy and his food.
That brings us to the barrier to multiplication – scarcity.
BARRIER TO MULTIPLICATION: SCARCITY MENTALITY
““They don’t need to go away,” Jesus told them. “You give them something to eat.” “But we only have five loaves and two fish here,” they said to Him.” (Matthew 14:16–17, HCSB)
Let me illustrate it here:
Illustration: Take a piece of bread and divide it among everyone. (Notice how everyone takes the bread, divides it and never asks for more. Now inform them. Hey, why didn’t anyone ask for more bread? See, I some more here.)
We look at the financial and resource barriers and think “no way.” Fish tacos for 5000 people would cost over $55000. We can’t do that. But God doesn’t have these barriers. We have to ask in faith. We think in terms of scarcity. That’s division of resources. But Jesus doesn’t divide. He multiplies. He takes what little you have and multiplies.
This is a story that teaches the importance of blessing.
“Then He commanded the crowds to sit down on the grass. He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed them. He broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds.” (Matthew 14:19, HCSB)
How do you have faith? How do you multiply? How do you do impossible community service with so little?
Look at what they did in this story:
You have to trust Jesus with the resources. You have to give it up to Jesus. You have to let Jesus BLESS what we give him. You have to do what Jesus says to do with the resources once He multiplies. You still have what is left over for yourself.
Jesus’s blessing is the key to the multiplication and the faith. After Jesus blesses, then you see multiplication. Question: Where did Jesus get the extra fish? We don’t know. He never shows us. It is not like Jesus pulled out a replicator and reproduced fish. He doesn’t have to do that.
Jesus makes stuff out of nothing. The theological term is: ex nihilo. God creates ex nihilo. Just as God created the heavens and the Earth out of nothing, He can take the little that we have and multiply out of what seems nothing.
Ultimately, this is a story that teaches about sharing hope.
Jesus multiplies to give hope to the people.
“As He stepped ashore, He saw a huge crowd, felt compassion for them, and healed their sick.” (Matthew 14:14, HCSB)
Notice the two steps to sharing hope: feeling compassion and then healing.
The disciples’ thinking was in terms of scarcity.
“When evening came, the disciples approached Him and said, “This place is a wilderness, and it is already late. Send the crowds away so they can go into the villages and buy food for themselves.”” (Matthew 14:15, HCSB)
THREE EXCUSES WHICH FEED THE SCARCITY MENTALITY
Look at the excuses which come with the scarcity mentality:
the place is a desert (place has no resources),
it is late (no time to get the resources ourselves),
send them away (it is not our job to help them).
Blessing overcomes scarcity and it gives hope to people.
Jesus was thinking: the people need hope. Bless them. He was thinking in terms of multiplication.
We have fish and bread – resources which God can use to multiply His kingdom and provide for the community. They are right here. It’s the building you are in. It’s the parking lot. It’s the closet. It’s the pavilion. It’s the activity center. It’s this church building. These are resources which God has given to us in order for us to give back to Him so that He can bless it and multiply it. This is a very important spiritual principle. We have to stop thinking in terms of scarcity (what little we have) and start thinking in terms of multiplication and blessing.
Ending: we take three teams and go out asking people to go to what Jesus has given us to pray a prayer of blessing over it.