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Sharing Necessitates and Sustains Multiplication
The Bible is awash with confounding paradoxes. We read for example in Proverbs 11:24: “There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty.” Again, in Proverbs 13:7, we read: “There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing: there is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches.”
From the above paradoxes, we can deduce that generosity doesn’t impoverish, greed does. Though not a Christian, Mahatma Gandhi admired the teachings of Christ. He made an observation that further pays tribute to the paradox in Proverbs we have seen above. He said: “There can be enough for all of us, but not enough for one greedy person.”
Christ demonstrated the practicality of the multiplication in sharing.
“When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat? And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little.
“One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, saith unto him, There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many? 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. 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. When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.”—John 6:1-12.
The mother who packed the lunch for her son must have been inspired to do so. She may not have thought that her food was going to feed over five thousand people. In the divine plan, this food was not for the boy alone; it was food to be shared. One doesn’t stop wondering that among that big multitude, it was only the lad that had a packed lunch. Could it happen that there were some people who also had some little food with them but would not let anybody know that they had the food?
The boy himself needed the food but he gave it away unconditionally, not knowing whether he would get it back. Note that the food virtually multiplied as it was being shared out. Christ started with the five small barley loaves and two small fish. He couldn’t have held in His hands food that would feed that multitude. Each time He broke the food and gave to each disciple, the food would multiply. The multiplication process continued in the hands of the disciples as well. Each of the disciple could not have carried in his hands food that would feed over four hundred men. This means that it was the sharing that necessitated the multiplication. When the sharing stopped, multiplication also stopped.
Try to imagine what could have happened if the disciples decided to eat their fill first before sharing the food out to the multitude. If they did this, the more than five thousand people could not have had anything to eat. The disciples could not dare sit down and eat the food because Christ was there personally, watching. They must have sat down and ate only after everybody else had already been served.
If they could sit down and eat first before thinking of the crowd, they couldn’t have had enough even for themselves. The one who obeys divine instruction will always enjoy divine favour. The end result is that people will be satisfied. But even if they don’t get satisfied, they will be contented in their situation and fulfilled because of the obedience to God’s purpose. A good steward has peace with God and himself even if life is full of challenges.
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