Week 2: God Is Provider

    Day 13: Open Hands

    The size of a challenge should never be measured by what we have to offer. It will never be enough. Furthermore, provision is God's responsibility, not ours. We are merely called to commit what we have – even if it's no more than a sack lunch.

    Charles Swindoll

    Our Hope

    Matthew 14:14-21

    14 When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick. 15 Now when it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” 16 But Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” 17 They said to him, “We have only five loaves here and two fish.” 18 And he said, “Bring them here to me.” 19 Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. 20 And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over. 21 And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.

    Our Insight

    Isn't it remarkable that the poorest man among the whole crowd (by the world's definition) was the one who provided the great feast? Jesus had no money to buy food. The only relevant resources he did have (five loaves and two fish) were given to Him by someone else. And yet it was through Jesus that God's miraculous provision came.

    What may be even more remarkable is Jesus' hint that any of his disciples could have—at that moment—been the conduit of God's provision instead of Him (v. 16, But Jesus said, "They need not go away; you give them something to eat.") Was He being serious?

    Throughout His time with the twelve, Jesus had been teaching them lessons about the Father's provision. By His lifestyle He had shown them first-hand what it looks like to live dependently on the Father's care. He had taught them that God's care was rooted in abundance, not scarcity—that even the flowers and birds were well taken care of. And now it was time for one more lesson about God's provision. This time, it wasn't about God providing for them, it was about God providing through them.

    You see, when someone lives dependently on the Father's provision, their hands are open—both to receive and to give. Resources flow to them, and resources flow through them. When we live dependently on ourselves, our hands are closed. Our focus is only on what we have, or on what we lack (v. 17, They said to him, “We have only five loaves here and two fish.”) Jesus didn't care how much they had—it didn't matter. The Father owns every stalk of wheat in every field and every fish in every sea. If He says it's time to feed a crowd, the only thing He needs is open hands.

    It's a time of crisis in our world right now. The people are hungry. Are your hands open or closed?

    Our Prayer

    Begin this prayer time by thanking the Father for His good provision for you, even in difficult times. Now, remember that because of your faith in Christ, the Spirit of God lives in you and is active in you. Ask the Spirit to bring to your mind today one person or family that He wants to provide for through you. It might be a material or financial provision, an emotional provision, or a spiritual provision. Whatever it is, ask Him to make it clear to you today, and be prepared to obey. Ask Him to help you keep your hands wide open this day, and in the days to come.

    Our Gratitude

    Before closing this devotion, take a moment and bring to mind one thing—at this moment—that you are thankful for. And thank God for it.