I am writing today from the cloudy and rainy Tampa Bay area.
Wednesday’s section of this week’s Sabbath School lesson asks the question,“What does Jesus’ miracle of multiplying the loaves and fishes teach us about the sharing of our faith?”
One thing we learn is, the boy who gave his lunch, enabling Jesus to feed the multitude did not have to grow up before Jesus could use him in a great way.
My oldest niece is getting married next month, yet God used her years ago, when she was only 5 to teach me a very valuable lesson. My sister and her family and I were visiting my parents in Tulsa. We were all having lunch at home, after I had just preached in the church I grew up in. Someone’s name came up who we all remembered from a long time ago. I made a comment on how that person used to get on my nerves all the time. My little niece’s mouth flew open, and with a look of shock at what I just said, she exclaimed with her five year old wisdom, “You can’t be a good preacher and talk bad about people!” We all looked at her, surprised that those words flew out of her mouth. You know, if those words had flown out of anybody else’s mouth at that table 19 years ago, I would not be writing this, because I would not have remembered it. Those words were not from my niece, they were from God. God knew the only way I would remember those words, were if they came from a five year old. So while He could have spoken through anyone at the table that day, He spoke threw a five year old so I would have a true revival and reformation that day. Sure, I was speaking in the comfort of my own family, yet it was not just the way I spoke that needed to change. I needed to change the way I thought. You don’t have to worry about inappropriate words flying out of your mouth if you never think them in the first place.
The boy giving up all he had to revive a hungry multitude, and my 5 year old niece, inspiring a revival which led to a reformation in my way of thinking, are not to be isolated cases of God using young people, now and not just when they get older.
And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. Joel 2:28-29
By referring to servants and even handmaids, God is telling us He is going to use little children in His great last day revival. It should not be that big a deal if you think about. I mean, if God can use simple pieces of dust in the wind like you and I, it’s really not any kind of a stretch for God to use little children. Remember God spoke though a donkey when He spoke to Balaam, so God does not consider it a really big deal when He speaks through me anyway. He could use the dog next door to write this post if He wanted to!
In order to be humble teachers we must also remain humble students willing to be taught by anyone God wants to use to enlighten us. A true revival will never revive our pride. A true revival will lead us to realize God can use the most humble instruments to crucify our pride and experience a genuine revival of Godliness.
Folks give Eli a bad rap for not controlling his own sons better, but even with all of his faults Eli got something right. When Samuel was sleeping in the temple, he repeatedly thought Eli was calling him. Finally Eli realized God was calling little Samuel, and the humble priest instructed the young child what to say next time he heard the voice of God.
“Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth.” 1 Samuel 3:9
You know what I find remarkable in that simple story? In Eli’s day, as well as in our day, a lot of priests and religious leaders with fancy titles and letters behind their names, would have told themselves, “That couldn’t be God talking to little Samuel, because if it was God, He would be talking to someone important like me and not some little kid.”
With all his faults, Eli was humble enough to realize that being the high priest did not make him any more useful to God than a little boy. You can pick and find fault with Eli if you want to, but in the end, Samuel led a revival in his day because Eli was humble enough to step aside and let God work through whatever instrument He chose. Likewise God used a small child to work a revival and reformation in my heart at the lunch table one afternoon 19 years ago. And long before that a multitude was revived because a small little boy did not wait to grow up before he gave Jesus everything he had that day.