God Uses Man’s Feeble Participation - The Warrior's Journey®

God Uses Man’s Feeble Participation

Author: Chaplain, COL Scott McChrystal, USA (Ret.)

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“Jesus called his disciples to him and said, ‘I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat’ … His disciples answered, ‘Where could we get enough bread … to feed such a crowd?’ ‘How many loaves do you have?’ Jesus asked. ‘Seven,’ they replied, ‘and a few small fish.’ He told the crowd to sit down on the ground. Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, and when he had given thanks, he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and they in turn to the people.  They all ate and were satisfied.” (Matthew 15:32-37)

This is the second time the Lord Jesus performed a miracle of multiplying loaves and fishes. The first was in Matthew 14:25-33, where Jesus fed a group of 5,000 men with five loaves and two fish. Here Jesus feeds 4,000 with seven loaves and a few fish.

What is intriguing about these miracles is that, both times, Jesus asked the disciples what they had on hand. Jesus could have easily pulled an adequate number loaves and fishes out of thin air. He didn’t need the miniscule help of the disciples. But He chose to work with the little they offered to do something very great.

This is a phenomenon that occurs throughout the Scripture. There is a tiny measure of human participation – which is completely incapable of doing the miraculous. But that’s where God comes in. He takes the tiny human participation and performs miracles with it. At the burning bush God asked Moses, “What is that in your hand?” “A staff,” replied Moses (Exodus 4:2-3). And with that staff God performed many miracles to deliver Israel from Egypt. It was an ordinary staff. God simply chose to use it.

In 1 Corinthians 3:6, Paul stated, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth.” Paul and Apollos could only do what was humanly possible. They had to rely upon God to do the supernatural – to open spiritually blind eyes, to soften hardened hearts, and to raise those dead in sin to newness of life. God could have done this without any human involvement. But He chose to involve frail humanity in His work.

Even in our salvation, God uses our participation. What is that participation? Something very small and feeble – perhaps a simple prayer of desperation: “God, be merciful to me, a sinner.” But with that tiny plea God performs His mightiest miracle in our hearts. He saves us, cleanses us from sin, clothes us in His righteousness, and causes us to be born again to a living hope. Salvation is still the work of God alone.


Do you ever feel completely inadequate to serve God?

Does God need much from us to do great and mighty things?

1 Corinthians 1:26-31 tells us that God chooses weak and foolish people to perform mighty deeds – so that God, not man, will be glorified. Give to God your inadequate gifts and abilities and He will do miraculous things with them.

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