Out-Giving God

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Out-Giving God

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This spring Holy Day season, I have been blessed by God to be able to spend my spring break with my family in Michigan. After Passover, an elderly woman in our congregation shared with me a unique story about God that I will never forget.

One day a relative was complaining to her about money. They were struggling to see how God could provide for their needs when the numbers didn’t agree. So she simply replied, “You can’t outgive God.”

Time went by, and again in worry they began to complain to her about money. This time she didn’t answer them, and when they hopped into their truck, the Christian radio station turned on and said, “You can’t outgive God.” The message rang loud and clear—God was going to take care of them. They just needed to change their perception and have a little faith.

In the gospels, I believe we see an account of a similar event with Jesus and the disciples. It was near the time of Passover when Jesus Christ and his disciples were in Bethsaida, near on the Sea of Galilee. A great crowd of about 5,000 had followed them there. And Jesus had compassion on them and began to teach the crowd. “He welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed healing.”

Later, He said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” And Philip replied, “It would take more than a half year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” But Jesus knew that this was going to be an opportunity to show God’s glory and the importance of faith. So He had all of the people sit down in groups of fifty and a young boy who was there had “five small barley loaves and two small fish” and gave them to Christ to feed the people.

“Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he (Jesus) gave thanks and broke them. Then he gave them to the disciples to distribute to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over” (Compare Mark 6:30-44 Mark 6:30-44 [30] And the apostles gathered themselves together to Jesus, and told him all things, both what they had done, and what they had taught. [31] And he said to them, Come you yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat. [32] And they departed into a desert place by ship privately. [33] And the people saw them departing, and many knew him, and ran afoot thither out of all cities, and preceded them, and came together to him. [34] And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things. [35] And when the day was now far spent, his disciples came to him, and said, This is a desert place, and now the time is far passed: [36] Send them away, that they may go into the country round about, and into the villages, and buy themselves bread: for they have nothing to eat. [37] He answered and said to them, Give you them to eat. And they say to him, Shall we go and buy two hundred pennyworth of bread, and give them to eat? [38] He said to them, How many loaves have you? go and see. And when they knew, they say, Five, and two fishes. [39] And he commanded them to make all sit down by companies on the green grass. [40] And they sat down in ranks, by hundreds, and by fifties. [41] And when he had taken the five loaves and the two fishes, he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and broke the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before them; and the two fishes divided he among them all. [42] And they did all eat, and were filled. [43] And they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments, and of the fishes. [44] And they that did eat of the loaves were about five thousand men.
American King James Version×
; Luke 9:10-17 Luke 9:10-17 [10] And the apostles, when they were returned, told him all that they had done. And he took them, and went aside privately into a desert place belonging to the city called Bethsaida. [11] And the people, when they knew it, followed him: and he received them, and spoke to them of the kingdom of God, and healed them that had need of healing. [12] And when the day began to wear away, then came the twelve, and said to him, Send the multitude away, that they may go into the towns and country round about, and lodge, and get victuals: for we are here in a desert place. [13] But he said to them, Give you them to eat. And they said, We have no more but five loaves and two fishes; except we should go and buy meat for all this people. [14] For they were about five thousand men. And he said to his disciples, Make them sit down by fifties in a company. [15] And they did so, and made them all sit down. [16] Then he took the five loaves and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed them, and broke, and gave to the disciples to set before the multitude. [17] And they did eat, and were all filled: and there was taken up of fragments that remained to them twelve baskets.
American King James Version×
; John 6:1-13 John 6:1-13 [1] After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias. [2] And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased. [3] And Jesus went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples. [4] And the passover, a feast of the Jews, was near. [5] When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come to him, he said to Philip, From where shall we buy bread, that these may eat? [6] And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do. [7] Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little. [8] One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to him, [9] There is a lad here, which has five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many? [10] And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. [11] And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would. [12] When they were filled, he said to his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost. [13] Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above to them that had eaten.
American King James Version×
, NIV).

Our God loves to give. When we offer all that we have, He can multiply anything according to His might, power and glory—especially in times of need. But God also loves to give even when we are undeserving. Life alone is a miracle from God. He gave His Son, “the bread of life,” so that we could live. And Jesus said, “Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty” (John 6:35 John 6:35And Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life: he that comes to me shall never hunger; and he that believes on me shall never thirst.
American King James Version×
, NIV).

So give thanks to God—for everything—and trust that He can supply all our needs because we can never “outgive” to our loving and merciful God.