Do you see a need? When you consider the impact you could make do you feel overwhelmed? When you consider what you have to offer do you feel like it won’t matter? Would you be willing to give up your lunch? Do you have a need? What do you have to use to meet it? Would you say “nothing but a little…”?
Will you take the little you have and give it into God’s hands to be multiplied and used? Would you do it if it was for a greater good? Would you do it if it was for you and your family?
Addition may not be enough and we may need multiplication! Ever heard the story about reaping and sowing? If you were a farmer and went out to sow seed, you would want to make sure you got a good harvest to reap right? So if you only sowed 2 seeds you would reap only the harvest of the production of 2 seeds. And if you sowed a field of see you would reap a harvest from that field! So we need to consider if we will trust God with the little we have in order for Him to take it and multiply it so that the harvest will be great!
Will you get involved in giving? Will you get involved in serving? Will you get involved in praying?
Are you willing? Is your heart moved to be a part of God’s work? Don’t do it out of compulsion for God loves a cheerful giver!
What is God speaking to your heart today?
Consider all the needs of the world! Imagine if we were able with the our giving and God’s multiplication power to get to hear what Moses spoke that we have more than enough!
Will you choose to be a part of God’s great plan?
Today’s devotional speaks an incredible testimony about the power of multiplication when you take the little you have in faith and give it up to God!
Hattie May Wiatt, a six-year-old girl, lived near Grace Baptist Church in Philadelphia, USA. The Sunday school was very crowded. Russell H. Conwell, the minister, told her that one day they would have buildings big enough to allow everyone to attend. She said, ‘I hope you will. It is so crowded I am afraid to go there alone.’ He replied, ‘When we get the money we will construct one large enough to get all the children in.’
Two years later, in 1886, Hattie May died. After the funeral Hattie’s mother gave the minister a little bag they had found under their daughter’s pillow containing 57 cents in change that she had saved up. Alongside it was a note in her handwriting: ‘To help build bigger so that more children can go to Sunday school.’
The minister changed all the money into pennies and offered each one for sale. He received $250 – and 54 of the cents were given back. The $250 was itself changed into pennies and sold by the newly formed ‘Wiatt Mite Society’. In this way her 57 cents kept on multiplying.
Twenty-six years later, in a talk entitled, ‘The history of the 57 cents’, the minister explained the results of her 57-cent donation: a church with a membership of over 5,600 people, a hospital where tens of thousands of people had been treated, 80,000 young people going through university, 2,000 people going out to preach the gospel – all this happened ‘because Hattie May Wiatt invested her 57 cents’.
The theme of multiplication runs throughout the Bible. What cannot be achieved by addition, God does by multiplication. We reap what we sow, only many times more. What we give to the Lord, he multiplies.
1. Multiplication of blessings… and troubles — Psalm 25:16-22
16Turn to me and be gracious to me,for I am lonely and afflicted. 17Relieve the troubles of my heartand free me from my anguish. 18Look on my affliction and my distressand take away all my sins. 19See how numerous are my enemiesand how fiercely they hate me! 20Guard my life and rescue me;do not let me be put to shame,for I take refuge in you. 21May integrity and uprightness protect me,because my hope, Lord, is in you. 22Deliver Israel, O God,from all their troubles!
–from Psalm 25
Would you give if you thought there would be blessings associated with it for you? Would you give if you thought there would be troubles with it for you? Would you give if you if you thought there would be troubles for you but blessings for the rest of the group? Are you giving to give or are you giving in hopes of receiving in this world? Are you giving out of obedience or are you giving out of selfishness? Are you giving to bless knowing Jesus has your back and although in this world we will have troubles, we can take heart because Jesus has overcome the world and has gone ahead to prepare a better place for you and me? Will you give out of trust in God?
Jesus promised his followers a multiplication of blessings. But he also warned them that alongside the blessings there would be trouble. He said that whoever followed him would receive a hundredfold in this life – with persecutions (Mark 10:30).
In this psalm David expresses how ‘the troubles of my heart have multiplied… See how my enemies have increased’ (Psalm 25:17,19). He speaks of loneliness, ‘affliction’, ‘anguish’ and ‘distress’.
Wherever God blesses, troubles and persecutions tend also to increase. Any kind of leadership will involve opposition. The greater the responsibility, the more your troubles will multiply and your critics increase.
David prays to the Lord for his help in guarding and rescuing him (v.20). When under attack, always try to act with integrity, uprightness and faith (v.21). Do the right thing regardless of what people say or think.
2. Multiplication of resources — Mark 7:31-8:13
31Then Jesus left the vicinity of Tyre and went through Sidon, down to the Sea of Galilee and into the region of the Decapolis.32There some people brought to him a man who was deaf and could hardly talk, and they begged Jesus to place his hand on him. 33After he took him aside, away from the crowd, Jesus put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then he spit and touched the man’s tongue. 34He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, “Ephphatha!” (which means “Be opened!”). 35At this, the man’s ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly. 36Jesus commanded them not to tell anyone. But the more he did so, the more they kept talking about it. 37People were overwhelmed with amazement. “He has done everything well,” they said. “He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.” –from Mark 7
1During those days another large crowd gathered. Since they had nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples to him and said, 2“I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. 3If I send them home hungry, they will collapse on the way, because some of them have come a long distance.” 4His disciples answered, “But where in this remote place can anyone get enough bread to feed them?” 5 “How many loaves do you have?” Jesus asked.“Seven,” they replied. 6He told the crowd to sit down on the ground. When he had taken the seven loaves and given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people, and they did so. 7They had a few small fish as well; he gave thanks for them also and told the disciples to distribute them. 8The people ate and were satisfied. Afterward the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 9About four thousand were present. After he had sent them away, 10he got into the boat with his disciples and went to the region of Dalmanutha. 11The Pharisees came and began to question Jesus. To test him, they asked him for a sign from heaven. 12He sighed deeply and said, “Why does this generation ask for a sign? Truly I tell you, no sign will be given to it.” 13Then he left them, got back into the boat and crossed to the other side. –from Mark 8
In this passage we see the extraordinary multiplication of God’s provision. With seven loaves and a few small fish, Jesus fed the 4,000 and the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.
Interestingly though, Jesus doesn’t just do a miracle, he first involves the disciples. He calls them over to explain what he wants to do (8:1–3). He allows them to think their way towards a solution (v.4), perhaps hoping that they will remember the feeding of the 5,000 (6:30–44).
He then enlists their help, by asking them for the food that they have (8:5). It is only at that point that Jesus performs a miracle, multiplying the food that they have given him. Even then he gets the disciples to help with the distribution of the food (v.6). Jesus loves to involve us in his plans and work.
The disciples’ role seems fairly small in comparison to what Jesus is able to do. God is able to do a lot with a very small amount. Whatever you give to God, he multiplies.
Today’s passage starts with another miracle of Jesus’. He healed a man ‘who was deaf and could hardly talk’ (7:32). He prayed for him ‘with a deep sigh’ (v.34). Perhaps this is the kind of prayer that Paul is describing as ‘wordless groans’ (Romans 8:26). It represents the Holy Spirit struggling in prayer through us. Jesus ‘said to [the man], “Ephphatha!” (which means, “Be opened”)’ (Mark 7:34).
No doubt Jesus, aware of the multiplication of opposition, ‘commanded them not to tell anyone’ (v.36). However, ‘the more he did so, the more they kept talking about it’ (v.36).
After the miracle of multiplication, Jesus sent the crowds away so that he could concentrate on a smaller group of his disciples (8:9–10). The needs of the crowd were enormous – for evangelism and healing. Nevertheless, Jesus prioritised time with a small group of leaders.
In spite of the miracle of multiplication, and all the other miracles, not everyone believed. ‘The Pharisees came and began to question Jesus. To test him, they asked him for a sign from heaven’ (v.11). They wanted outward compelling proof of his authority.
They were spiritually blind and unable to recognise the signs God had given (you might have thought feeding 4,000 people with a few loaves and fish might have been a fairly obvious ‘sign’!). They wanted to choose signs of their own – which Jesus refused to do. It is still true today that miracles do not always lead to faith – people often dismiss miracles, thinking there must be some other possible explanation.
3. Multiplication of volunteers — Exodus 35:1-36:38
1Moses assembled the whole Israelite community and said to them, “These are the things the Lord has commanded you to do: 2For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh day shall be your holy day, a day of sabbath rest to the Lord. Whoever does any work on it is to be put to death. 3Do not light a fire in any of your dwellings on the Sabbath day.”
Materials for the Tabernacle
4Moses said to the whole Israelite community, “This is what the Lord has commanded: 5From what you have, take an offering for the Lord. Everyone who is willing is to bring to the Lord an offering of gold, silver and bronze; 6blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen; goat hair; 7ram skins dyed red and another type of durable leather; acacia wood; 8olive oil for the light; spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense; 9and onyx stones and other gems to be mounted on the ephod and breastpiece.
10“All who are skilled among you are to come and make everything the Lord has commanded: 11the tabernacle with its tent and its covering, clasps, frames, crossbars, posts and bases; 12the ark with its poles and the atonement cover and the curtain that shields it; 13the table with its poles and all its articles and the bread of the Presence; 14the lampstand that is for light with its accessories, lamps and oil for the light; 15the altar of incense with its poles, the anointing oil and the fragrant incense; the curtain for the doorway at the entrance to the tabernacle; 16the altar of burnt offering with its bronze grating, its poles and all its utensils; the bronze basin with its stand; 17the curtains of the courtyard with its posts and bases, and the curtain for the entrance to the courtyard; 18the tent pegs for the tabernacle and for the courtyard, and their ropes; 19the woven garments worn for ministering in the sanctuary—both the sacred garments for Aaron the priest and the garments for his sons when they serve as priests.”
20Then the whole Israelite community withdrew from Moses’ presence, 21and everyone who was willing and whose heart moved them came and brought an offering to the Lord for the work on the tent of meeting, for all its service, and for the sacred garments. 22All who were willing, men and women alike, came and brought gold jewelry of all kinds: brooches, earrings, rings and ornaments. They all presented their gold as a wave offering to the Lord. 23Everyone who had blue, purple or scarlet yarn or fine linen, or goat hair, ram skins dyed red or the other durable leather brought them. 24Those presenting an offering of silver or bronze brought it as an offering to the Lord, and everyone who had acacia wood for any part of the work brought it. 25Every skilled woman spun with her hands and brought what she had spun—blue, purple or scarlet yarn or fine linen. 26And all the women who were willing and had the skill spun the goat hair. 27The leaders brought onyx stones and other gems to be mounted on the ephod and breastpiece. 28They also brought spices and olive oil for the light and for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense. 29All the Israelite men and women who were willing brought to the Lord freewill offerings for all the work the Lord through Moses had commanded them to do.
Bezalel and Oholiab
30Then Moses said to the Israelites, “See, the Lord has chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, 31and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills— 32to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, 33to cut and set stones, to work in wood and to engage in all kinds of artistic crafts. 34And he has given both him and Oholiab son of Ahisamak, of the tribe of Dan, the ability to teach others. 35He has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work as engravers, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen, and weavers—all of them skilled workers and designers. –from Exodus 35
1So Bezalel, Oholiab and every skilled person to whom the Lord has given skill and ability to know how to carry out all the work of constructing the sanctuary are to do the work just as the Lord has commanded.”
2Then Moses summoned Bezalel and Oholiab and every skilled person to whom the Lord had given ability and who was willing to come and do the work. 3They received from Moses all the offerings the Israelites had brought to carry out the work of constructing the sanctuary. And the people continued to bring freewill offerings morning after morning. 4So all the skilled workers who were doing all the work on the sanctuary left what they were doing 5and said to Moses, “The people are bringing more than enough for doing the work the Lord commanded to be done.”
6Then Moses gave an order and they sent this word throughout the camp: “No man or woman is to make anything else as an offering for the sanctuary.” And so the people were restrained from bringing more, 7because what they already had was more than enough to do all the work.
8All those who were skilled among the workers made the tabernacle with ten curtains of finely twisted linen and blue, purple and scarlet yarn, with cherubim woven into them by expert hands. 9All the curtains were the same size—twenty-eight cubits long and four cubits wide. 10They joined five of the curtains together and did the same with the other five. 11Then they made loops of blue material along the edge of the end curtain in one set, and the same was done with the end curtain in the other set. 12They also made fifty loops on one curtain and fifty loops on the end curtain of the other set, with the loops opposite each other. 13Then they made fifty gold clasps and used them to fasten the two sets of curtains together so that the tabernacle was a unit.
14They made curtains of goat hair for the tent over the tabernacle—eleven altogether. 15All eleven curtains were the same size—thirty cubits long and four cubits wide. 16They joined five of the curtains into one set and the other six into another set. 17Then they made fifty loops along the edge of the end curtain in one set and also along the edge of the end curtain in the other set. 18They made fifty bronze clasps to fasten the tent together as a unit. 19Then they made for the tent a covering of ram skins dyed red, and over that a covering of the other durable leather.
20They made upright frames of acacia wood for the tabernacle. 21Each frame was ten cubits long and a cubit and a half wide,22with two projections set parallel to each other. They made all the frames of the tabernacle in this way. 23They made twenty frames for the south side of the tabernacle 24and made forty silver bases to go under them—two bases for each frame, one under each projection. 25For the other side, the north side of the tabernacle, they made twenty frames 26and forty silver bases—two under each frame. 27They made six frames for the far end, that is, the west end of the tabernacle, 28and two frames were made for the corners of the tabernacle at the far end. 29At these two corners the frames were double from the bottom all the way to the top and fitted into a single ring; both were made alike. 30So there were eight frames and sixteen silver bases—two under each frame.
31They also made crossbars of acacia wood: five for the frames on one side of the tabernacle, 32five for those on the other side, and five for the frames on the west, at the far end of the tabernacle. 33They made the center crossbar so that it extended from end to end at the middle of the frames. 34They overlaid the frames with gold and made gold rings to hold the crossbars. They also overlaid the crossbars with gold.
35They made the curtain of blue, purple and scarlet yarn and finely twisted linen, with cherubim woven into it by a skilled worker. 36They made four posts of acacia wood for it and overlaid them with gold. They made gold hooks for them and cast their four silver bases. 37For the entrance to the tent they made a curtain of blue, purple and scarlet yarn and finely twisted linen—the work of an embroiderer; 38and they made five posts with hooks for them. They overlaid the tops of the posts and their bands with gold and made their five bases of bronze. –from Exodus 36
I have observed over the years the astonishing achievements that are possible when every member of even a small congregation gets involved in praying, serving and giving.
The people of God faced a massive task in the building of the tabernacle. They achieved it through a multiplication of involvement of volunteers. Moses assembled ‘the entire congregation’ (35:1, MSG). This is what is needed in every church today:
We saw in yesterday’s passage how everybody united in prayer and worship, ‘they all stood and worshipped’ (33:10). The Sabbath was not just a day of rest, it was a ‘holy day’ of ‘rest to the Lord’ (35:2). It was a day when people could devote more time to prayer and worship. The whole community prayed.
They took up ‘an offering for the Lord’ (v.5a). Everyone was urged to give: ‘Everyone who is willing is to bring to the Lord an offering of gold, silver and bronze’ (v.5b).
The task was not achieved by one generous donor alone. ‘And everyone who was willing and whose heart moved them came and brought an offering to the Lord for the work… All who were willing, men and women alike’ (vv.21–22). Like Hattie May Wiatt, each one brought their ‘57 cents’.
If your community is to achieve everything that God is calling you to do, you will need everyone giving – not under compulsion but willingly (2 Corinthians 8 and 9).
As everyone got involved in giving, they had ‘more than enough’ (Exodus 36:5). ‘The people were ordered to stop bringing offerings! There was plenty of material for all the work to be done. Enough and more than enough’ (vv.6–7, MSG).
Everybody got involved in serving. The words ‘everyone’ and ‘all’ appear many times in this passage. It was entirely voluntary: ‘All who are skilled among you are to come and make everything the Lord has commanded’ (35:10). For example, ‘everyone who had acacia wood… brought it’ (v.24); ‘Every skilled woman spun with her hands’ (v.25).
A key role was played by the artists, Bezalel and Oholiab. They were filled with the Spirit to make artistic designs and to teach others to do the same. Together they used their skills and ability to do the work: ‘Every skilled person to whom the Lord has given skill and ability to know how to carry out all the work of constructing the sanctuary are to do the work’ (36:1).
All this was entirely voluntary. The people of God were ‘stirred up for God’ (35:21,26, AMP). The task was achieved by ‘everyone whose heart was roused, whose spirit was freely responsive’ (v.21, MSG). If we are to achieve what God is calling us to do as a community we need this multiplication of volunteers.
Enthusiasm is infectious. As Joyce Meyer writes, ‘If you associate with a person who is visionary, you will soon get a vision. But if you stay around lifeless people who want to do nothing but complain, sit on the couch, eat donuts, and watch soap operas, then soon you will be doing the same things.’
Stir one another up to pray, serve and give. You will be astonished by how God is able to multiply your 57 cents and do more than you could ever ask or even imagine.