Jesus soon saw a great crowd of people climbing the hill, looking for him. Turning to Philip, he asked, "Philip, where can we buy bread to feed all these people?" He was testing Philip, for he already knew what he was going to do. Philip replied, "It would take a small fortune to feed them!"
Then Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, spoke up. "There's a young boy here with five barley loaves and two fish. But what good is that with this huge crowd?"
"Tell everyone to sit down," Jesus ordered. So all of them—the men alone numbered five thousand—sat down on the grassy slopes. Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks to God, and passed them out to the people. Afterward he did the same with the fish. And they all ate until they were full.
"Now gather the leftovers," Jesus told his disciples, "so that nothing is wasted." There were only five barley loaves to start with, but twelve baskets were filled with the pieces of bread the people did not eat! John 6:1-14
What is God asking you to surrender for His work? Is it your time? Your possessions or money? Is it your talents? Jesus puts before you a need or a task that is far too big, far too overwhelming for you to accomplish, and asks, "Where can we get the means to accomplish this task?" Notice that He never says, "Where can you find the means." He gently reminds you that you are not alone in what He has asked you to do.
And you reply, "But, Lord, all I have is this small pool of resources to draw from. What good is that for doing this big job You've asked of me? It's impossible!"
And then Jesus asks you to sit down and watch as He multiplies your very limited resources to do a very unlimited miracle.
Here's the clincher: When Jesus is getting ready to do a God-sized work in your life, He doesn't ask for SOME of your resources—a few of your loaves and fish—He asks for ALL of them. The sacrifice He requires of you is never half-hearted or safe. But then, what does He do with it?
He multiplies it and uses it in the lives of others in a way that satisfies their deepest hunger at the moment. And when He brings you the leftovers, you find that it is far more than you started with. In fact, it is bountifully, heapingly (my new word) more than what you offered Him to start with. Always.
I am at such a place in my own life where He is asking for a sacrifice of many areas in my life all at once—time, possessions, money, relationships, and talents. He is not asking for some of it; He is asking for all of it in one way or another. It goes without saying that this new phase of my life is costly. But instead of fearing or holding back, I choose to echo the words of King David when he said, "…for I cannot present burnt offerings to the Lord my God that have cost me nothing."
Jesus gave His everything for me. I will joyfully give it back, withholding nothing that is dear to me, believing that He will fill my baskets to overflowing in return. Suddenly the price of sacrifice doesn't seem so impossible.
P.S. This is not in the mentality of "prosperity-theology." I do not give my resources expecting to get showered with money and financial prosperity. I do not expect to win the lotto for my humble offerings. God will reward me in whatever fashion He sees fit, but I do know this: it will never be disappointing.