Thanks for the Small Things

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Thanks for the Small Things
Text: Luke 9:10-17
Occasion: General
Audience: Adults
Theological Tradition: General
Topic: Thankfulness
Author: Brian M


When we have the least is when we most need to be giving thanks to God.

How to Get There

  • This crowd was never Jesus’ idea. He had tried to be alone with this disciples to debrief them. But he still took it in good graces and helped people.
  • Then the disciples didn’t respond to the people with the same selflessness that Jesus had. Instead of feeding the crowd what they had, the disciples wanted to send them off.
  • Jesus required that they give to help others even if they didn’t really have enough or want to, just like he had given up his personal time to teach that whole day.
  • Jesus could have complained, but he didn’t. He just used what he had. The word used here by Jesus can be translated as “blessed” or “gave thanks.”
    • Either is appropriate as it is a Greek rendition of a Hebrew idea of blessing. There is an element of request and pronouncement of a true blessing (ie that this food would last as long as needed), but there is also always an element of thanks and praise.
    • At this time, blessing over meals was standard in Judaism and that all forms of prayer must begin with praise to God.
  • Jesus did no have enough here to provide for everyone that needed him. Yes, he asked for more, prayed that there would be enough, but he also thanked God for what he had.
  • When we get in trouble, when we don’t have enough, it isn’t the time to just ask, it is also the time to be thankful for what we do have.
  • This isn’t some mushy feel good idea either. This is recognizing that all we have comes from God in the first place and that God is in control.
  • When we have the least is when we need to be reminded the most that God is in control, and when we are most tempted to try and take control of what we have back from God.
  • We need to thank God even when we don’t feel like it, when we have the least, because only God can make what we have enough.
  • Giving thanks reminds us who is really in control, and who really provides for us, God.
  • God needs to be in control, whether we have everything or nothing. And we are to give thanks for that. Ask away, acknowledge your need, but be give thanks for what you have as well.

Things to Watch For

  • One of the things that need to be decided before embarking on this message is that the speaker needs to decide what they believe the baskets were.
    • Some commentators see these "baskets" as basically coin purses in size that the disciples would have carried with them, and so there was really no more left than what they started with.
    • Others see these baskets as large bushel baskets for fish or wheat and so this was not just multiplication at the time but they had enough for a long while. I personally find this explanation less likely given how God provided in the OT just enough mana to survive for the day.

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This Message is part 12 of Luke: Advent to Easter message series.