Dogs always want to know what you have. They have to SMELL it! They give you that “look” that says, “Whatcha got? Whatcha got? Whatcha got? I gotta SMELL it! Whatcha got?” Dog people know. Cat people may not, but not to worry: You can live vicariously through us for the rest of this message. (I am kidding, of course.)

The point is that there are times when what we have in hand is very important. And then there are times when we can be so overwhelmed by circumstances that we lose sight of what we have. This was the condition in which Jesus’ disciples found themselves in today’s Scripture passage.

But he answered, “You give them something to eat.” They said to him, “That would take eight months of a man’s wages! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?” “How many loaves do you have?” he asked. “Go and see.” When they found out, they said, “Five–and two fish.” (Mark 6:37-38 NIV)

Jesus told them to give the crowd something to eat. The look of the people was probably closer to the dog: “Whatcha got? Whatcha got? I know you got something!” I think the disciples’ look was more one of panic. Imagine their thoughts as they looked at one another in bewilderment: “We … can’t … feed … all … these … people!”

Then Jesus (I imagine with a sly, knowing grin) asked them the question: “How many loaves do you have?” Though a more formal expression of “Whatcha got?”, the thought is the same. They had to think and take inventory of what they had–if for no other reason than that Jesus asked.

I see us in that same predicament more often than we may at first realize. See if this sounds at all familiar:

  • It typically begins with recognizing needs around us and not being able to meet them. (So far, we’re tracking with the disciples.)
  • We begin to pray for the people in those needful situations. (Still tracking, as the disciples brought the people’s need to Jesus.)
  • As we pray, we ask Him to send someone to meet their needs. (Still tracking …)

And then it happens: He responds with, “You meet it.” (Tracking abruptly stops!)

“Meet … their … need … with … WHAT, Lord?” we think in panic. And He does the same thing with us that He did with the disciples that day. He prompts us to take inventory of what we have–our skills, compassion, relationship with Him, abilities, etc.–and submit those things to Him, allowing Him to work through us to do something we could not have imagined before for the person in need.

What could this look like for you? It could be simple. Someone could be hungry. You could buy their lunch. They may be hurting. You could smile, hug them, and tell them they are not alone. You could listen to what someone has to say, be available to mentor (disciple) someone, or it could be more involved. It COULD look like this:

We recently had a situation where a disproportionate number of big things “broke down” at the same time on our property, home, and office. We were overwhelmed. Our yard (a large field) was becoming overgrown. Through a connection with someone I knew, someone I had not previously met brought a tractor and cut our grass.

This was no small job: Brian mowed over four acres of tough fescue, requiring two long evenings of hard work in sweltering Southern heat. They also arranged for a broken water line and pressure regulator to be repaired at the same time. Thank you, Mark and Brian. You gave what you had and let Jesus use you to meet our needs.

What will yours look like? Do you think you have nothing to give? Think again. All Jesus asks of us is what He asked of them: “What do you have to give?” Be assured that you have something.

God has done incredible things in each of our lives. Those things are part of our inventory. We have a relationship with Him which includes gifts, abilities, talents, resources, and much more. These too are part of our inventory. And we have experience with Him which is rich with opportunity.

What do you have to give? Start looking for opportunities to give it and you will be amazed.

From ministry friend Randall Vaughn.


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