Making Much Out of Little


“You’ll never believe what happened,” I envision the disciples saying as they reunited with Jesus after he had sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. Tired and overwhelmed by the great needs of the people, they struggled to see how their meager rations were enough to feed a multitude. Sometimes there are situations where we, like the disciples, feel God is asking too much, and we don’t know how we will satisfy all of the pressing needs around us. 

  • What are the areas of your life that make you feel overwhelmed?


10 On their return the apostles told him all that they had done. And he took them and withdrew apart to a town called Bethsaida. 11 When the crowds learned it, they followed him, and he welcomed them and spoke to them of the kingdom of God and cured those who had need of healing. 12 Now the day began to wear away, and the twelve came and said to him, “Send the crowd away to go into the surrounding villages and countryside to find lodging and get provisions, for we are here in a desolate place.” 13 But he said to them, “You give them something to eat.” They said, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish—unless we are to go and buy food for all these people.” 14 For there were about five thousand men. And he said to his disciples, “Have them sit down in groups of about fifty each.” 15 And they did so, and had them all sit down. 16 And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing over them. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. 17 And they all ate and were satisfied. And what was left over was picked up, twelve baskets of broken pieces.

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


  1. The plan was for the disciples and Jesus to get away and debrief, but they were followed. How did Jesus respond to this change of plan in verse 11? What three things did Jesus do for the people who followed them?
  2. What pressing needs did the people have? Why do you think the disciples didn’t consider themselves able to handle those needs?
  3. How did Jesus take what was available and provide in abundance for the people?
  4. What may God be asking you to do that you can’t accomplish on your own ability or strength? What steps can you take to move forward in faith?


We really aren’t so different from the crowd that followed Jesus. Jesus still teaches us, feeds us, and heals us of our brokenness. We are also not too different from the disciples. After all we have seen of God’s goodness and power, we still get tired and doubt, wondering what we can do in the face of great needs in the people and situations around us. Jesus invites us to partner in his work, and it sometimes takes faith and risking what little we have. But, Jesus is able to make it enough.

  • Admit to God where you feel tired or doubt that what you have is enough for the needs of the day.
  • Pray for God’s power and provision for the work he wants to do through you in the lives of those you encounter.