A Lesson in Leadership: Multiplication of Miracle Workers
Have you ever read the story of the feeding of the five thousand? (Matthew 14:13-21, Mark 6:30-44, Luke 9:10-17)
Jesus takes a little boy’s lunch; five loaves and two fish, and feeds a multitude with it. Amazing story with many keys which we can apply in our lives and ministries, but today I want to highlight one of them. The principle of multiplication.
Usually when speaking on the principle of multiplication in relation to this story we zoom in on the multiplication of material resources, like the bread and fish. And that’s a great lesson to be learned from this passage of scripture. It’s such a great revelation to know that God wants to multiply your material resources so you are empowered and enabled to be a blessing to others. However, today I would like to look at the multiplication of not material resources, but human resources.
Before we do so, let’s first look at the story in a little more detail. First you see the need arising. It’s getting late and these people are far from home, they need food. It’s a vast crowd so who can go and buy bread for all those people, and the only thing they have on hand is five loaves and two fish, some food that a boy brought from home. Jesus amazingly says, ok great, tell the people to go sit in groups of fifty. He then takes the five loaves and two fish, blesses it, breaks it and gives it to the disciples to hand to the multitude. The result? 12 baskets of food is picked up as leftovers.
What amazes me about Jesus in the working of this miracle is that He was very detailed in its organization and very excellent in its execution. He said, tell them to sit down in groups of fifty (Luke 9:14). Why? Does it matter? Can’t you just multiply the food and hand it out? What’s the difference with them sitting in groups of fifty? It shows that God is not just shooting from the hip. He’s detailed, He’s organized, He’s excellent.
Then after all the people have been organized into groups, Jesus blesses and breaks the bread and fish and gives it to the disciples. Notice how He didn’t go around feeding everyone Himself. This is a great pointer for leadership. You can’t effectively run your organization by doing everything yourself. You must multiply yourself. Delegate. Give others responsibility.
What you see here is such a key in the Kingdom, it’s the Multiplication of miracle workers.
The disciples weren’t even aware what was going on until the miracle started happening. They were a part of the working of this miracle while just doing a menial task like serving some people some food! What you call menial, God calls material for a miracle. Don’t despise the little things. God is looking at how you handle the little things to see if He can make you ruler over greater things.
Then they picked up all the left overs. Nothing was being wasted. Every piece of bread and fish was used for its intended purpose. This is after the multitude ate and was full. They could’ve rejoiced and relaxed in the miracle but it’s a very important detail that is not left out of the gospels for a reason. Excellence and stewardship are lessons to be learned from this. Jesus was an expert in waste management, waste reduction and lean thinking way before any business mba ever wrote a book about it. In another passage Jesus said; Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them (Matthew 13:12). The wise steward of the five talents was given more as he multiplied. The one who wasted his talent, even what he had was taken from him.
All this happened in a short window of time. It happened from the time the disciples said its getting late, send the people home (Matthew 14:15) until before the evening when they were all already on their way home (Matthew 14:23).
Jesus used His time so wisely that He worked a miracle to feed a multitude, picked up all the leftovers, found good use for those, sent the multitude away before dark, sent His disciples off on the next crusade, AND went to spend intimate time alone with the Father, all in one evening, and that after preaching a mass crusade that same day!!! Can you say time management! The only way this was possible is because of the principle of multiplication. Multiplied miracle workers.
So the essence of the story is not only the miracle of feeding all these people with a little boy’s lunch, but also to take a peek inside the life and ministry of Jesus and learn from Him in the way He operated.
The key is the multiplication. Not only of the food, but even more so of the miracle workers. Effective, efficient, excellent, organized stewards of the miracle working power of God. He doesn’t just do things from the hip. He requires us to be good stewards of that which is entrusted to us by Him, so that we may go and be fruitful and multiply.