Multiplication   Leave a comment

I’ve been reading the book of Matthew this month. This morning’s nourishment included the story of the feeding of the four thousand, a story Matthew mixes in (Ch. 15) not long after the story of the feeding of the five thousand. This is a love story in many ways, but it is also an easy math problem.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on

Only men were counted when determining crowd sizes. Lord knows how much we need to have those detailed, accurate counts. I still cringe when talking with Pastors and hearing them talk about crowd size when asked about their church. Some have detailed systems that help them know with certainty. Some have parking lot scholars who calculate 2.5 people per vehicle to determine numbers. Some just eyeball the room and give their professional estimates, sometimes numbers that are even higher than the building’s actual seating capacity. After all, they’re bound to be asked during the week, “How many did you have?”

Jesus and the disciples were with a crowd of four thousand men, but if you do the math I’ve seen you should calculate that each man would probably have a spouse and perhaps a child or two or twelve, so let’s say 4 x 7.5=30,000. See how ridiculous this gets? He takes the seven loaves and few fish, blesses them and starts breaking them apart. We know the story of the miracle of how everyone was fed and there are seven baskets of leftovers, the number of perfection, carry the 3.

What strikes me this morning in this story is what happens when God blesses something. Whatever blessing it is seems to be multiplied. I like God’s math! When we read some of the healing stories we see not only the miracle of ailments being cured, but bonus health being added. Think of the paralyzed man (Mark 2:1-12) who was brought by his four friends who lowered him through the roof because they loved him and a good home improvement project. Jesus did more than heal his motionless condition, but he also forgave his sins. Then he added an extra bonus miracle of giving the man so much strength he could get up and walk home carrying his own math. No atrophy here!

What do you need God to do for you today? Jesus reminded us to ask in his name and we will receive. We do not always receive the thing we believe we need the most, but what we receive is always God’s best for us, even if that is an increased sense of God’s presence through our life’s storms. That last statement may seem patronizing, but it’s real. What is most beautiful about it is what this story of the four thousand is all about—when God dishes out God’s goodness, multiplication will likely be involved!

Posted January 25, 2021 by David N. Peppler, Sr. in Uncategorized

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