Chapter 23



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Dear brothers and sisters, God bless you. May I tell you a true story as best I recall. I knew a man once, a brother in the Lord, and perhaps still do, who a few years back, preached a gospel message and fed a gathering of homeless men and women in a downtown city park. At the conclusion of the message, many men and women happily received Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, and one of those homeless men spoke a special request to the man of God. “Do you have a bicycle? I need a bicycle.” Well now the man of God was pleased with the turnout, was pleased with the message, was pleased with the food, was pleased with the salvations, but he was a little taken aback by this man’s request… because immediately upon hearing it, the Lord had said to him in His quiet inner voice, “Give him your bike.” (Has something like this ever happened to you? It has to me.) I said that the man of God was a little taken aback, because he loved his bike, and had spent many enjoyable hours riding it, getting to know it, and tending to its every need; he had carefully dressed it up with fresh paint and it was all sparkling, well-oiled, and shined in the sun. But after just a momentary hesitation, the man of God said “Yes, I have a bike. You wait here in the parking lot and I’ll drive right home and get it.”

Now after he had gone all the way home, and somewhat sadly, and very gently, loaded his dearly loved bike into the car, and was driving back on the way to the parking lot, the man of God was thinking “Yes God, I’m going to give him my bike...” and he could not help but also think - parenthetically, because the submerged thought irresistibly kept popping up, “…but I hope he got tired of waiting and is not there,” realizing at the same time, of course, that he should not be thinking that way, but he loved his bike, and the reality is that none of us is quite perfect, yet. And as he pulled into the empty parking lot, immediately seeing no-one there, his heart skipped a quick beat… and then faltered as he saw the man, standing there in the midst, waiting for his bike.

A bit of time passed, and one day as the man of God and I were talking, I not then knowing all the preceding, he asked me about something that had been weighing heavily upon his mind, “What do you think about starting a bike ministry for poor and homeless persons?” And I replied that I thought it a good idea, certainly worthwhile and needful, but that our Rescue Mission facility was too small to accommodate the storage necessary for a fairly large ministry such as that. And we continued our fellowship on into other ministerial matters.

Well, the man of God went back to his church, and “was moved” to start a bike ministry, acquiring old used broken down bicycles, fixing them, oiling them, and painting them that they shine in the sun. J  And now, after just a very few years, prompted by the initial sacrifice of something close to the man of God’s heart, a sacrifice so dear that it hurt to give, the Lord our God has multiplied that one bicycle given to one homeless person into over 3,600 bicycles (three thousand six hundred bicycles) that the man of God has given, so far, to thousands of homeless men, women, and children. Isn’t God great? Praise God. Hallelujah!

Dear brothers and sisters, do you see by this living example how God works in and through the lives of willing men and women? First God tells us what to do to serve His people: if we obey Him and do it, then He multiplies what we have done. If we do not obey Him, then of course nothing happens.


(Mat 14:13-21)  When Jesus heard of it [the death of John the Baptist], he departed thence by ship into a desert place apart: and when the people had heard thereof, they followed him on foot out of the cities. And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick [The symptoms (syn: warning signs, indicators) of their evil thoughts. Before the Fall, did Adam and Woman ever get sick?]. And when it was evening, his disciples came to him, saying, This is a desert place, and the time [for the evening meal] is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals [Gk: food] [what were the disciples expressing?]. But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat. And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes. He said, Bring them hither to me [the command to sacrifice]. And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took [Gk: accepted] the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full. And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children.

1.       compassion = Dict: a feeling of sorrow or pity for the sufferings or misfortunes of another; sympathy.

2.       The Standard of Sacrificial Giving = The sacrifice has to have value to you, to be dear to you; for example, the firstlings of the flock without spot or blemish, the firstfruits of your labors, the tithes and offerings. If you will obediently sacrifice to Jesus/God the things God requires, and He always tells us what He requires, i.e., the Old Testament Sacrifices were laid out in clear and minute detail, God will multiply your sacrifice and give it back to you, that you may adequately and fully serve His people. The money, the things, and the time that you give (modern terminology = donate) to the service of God are the physical manifestations of your spiritual agape love, your sacrificial love Godward, received by God, multiplied (blessed) by God, and then redirected back by God through you to His people.

3.       (Luke 6:38)  Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure [Gk: a limited portion (degree)], pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete [Gk: measure, fig. estimate] withal it shall be measured to you again. [Why? So you can give more (bless) to His people.]

The principles of this pattern of godly giving-living (these two are inseparable from God’s point-of-view) were exemplified for us when Jesus Christ accepted the personal sacrifice of five loaves and two fishes from His obedient disciples (you and I) and wonderfully multiplied that sacrifice “And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children.” (Mat 14:21). May we note some interesting and relevant symbolism in the sacrifice that the disciples made.

1.       bread = The bread represents the disciples’ daily sustenance, the objects and things that we own, i.e., food, money, clothing, cars, or a bicycle, etc., etc., which may be summarized when these items are sacrificially given as donations (things external to our selves).

2.       fishes = In the Bible, men and women are symbolized as fish. The fishes in this narrative represent our own bodies (our selves), which we are commanded to present to God as an offering for a living sacrifice. We are in obedience to this command of our Lord whenever we volunteer in His service, here at our Rescue Mission and elsewhere as He leads.

a.       (Rom 12:1)  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

Now please note how obedience and blessings go hand-in-hand. If the disciples had not first given up, sacrificed, their personal possessions of bread and fishes, when Jesus commanded them to “Bring them hither to me” (Mat 14:18), then nothing more would have happened to the multitude and they would have remained hungry and not blessed, and nothing more would have happened to the disciples and they would have remained uneducated and not blessed. However, because of their obedience to Jesus Christ in sacrificing their bread and fishes, the disciples received a spiritual blessing, the blessing of edification, the blessing of spiritual growth, the blessing of understanding the biblical principles of godly giving-living, taught by this example.

If the multitude had not obeyed Jesus when He commanded them “to sit down on the grass” (Mat 14:19), do you suppose they would have been blessed with the food? I think not. Nothing, no blessings, would then or now be bestowed upon disobedient people, i.e., no food, etc., etc. However, because of their obedience to Jesus Christ in sitting down, the unbelieving multitude received a physical blessing. The unbelieving multitude is now waiting at the door to come into this Rescue Mission to receive a physical blessing of food; whereas you the disciples are now receiving a spiritual blessing of understanding, and, you will also partake of the physical blessing of food. Why?

1.       (Psa 84:11)  For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.

This pattern of godly giving-living was repeated for the certainty of your instruction when Jesus accepted the sacrifice of the “seven loaves and the fishes” (Mat 15:36) from His disciples and multiplied that sacrifice “And they that did eat were four thousand men, beside women and children.” (Mat 15:38).


But to do good and to communicate [Gk: fellowship] forget not:
for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. (Heb: 13:16)

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