verb: to increase greatly in amount or number, to become much more, to grow
“And may God, the God-of-Your-Fathers, keep it up and multiply you another thousand times, bless you just as he promised.” Deuteronomy 1:11 MSG
Remember learning your math facts? Your times tables? The easy ones like 2 x 2, and the not-so-easy ones like 7 x 8 or 9 x 7? I kind of liked the idea–almost felt like I was doing a magic trick once I figured it out. Multiplying 3 x 8 became so much faster than adding 8+8+8. Pretty cool according to my third-grade self.
But how much more incredible it is when Jesus is the one doing the multiplication...
There are two stories in the Bible about Jesus feeding huge crowds of hungry people. Both times, all He had to work with was a few loaves of bread and a couple of fish in a basket. Barely enough for a small family to have a picnic.
But Jesus wasn't worried. He thanked God as He held the small basket of food—trusting Him to do something amazing. To increase greatly what was brought before Him. To do much more than anybody expected. To multiply the tiny offering.
And God absolutely came through. Thousands ate all they could—and still, there were baskets full of leftovers. Leftovers? That's so fun, so God!
I bet that Jesus thinks multiplication is pretty cool, too. We give Him our tiny bit of hope, of faith, of service, of money, of time. We don’t feel like it’s even close to enough. And it really isn’t by itself. But placed in the hands of Jesus, as we trust in the overwhelming power and creativity of God—our little offerings increase greatly. They grow–and we grow–much more than we could have ever imagined!
I brought something difficult to Jesus a few months ago. I didn't know it at the time, but it turned out to be a multiplication problem. You see, I work in schools where hope can be hard to find. Some of the students I teach face challenges and situations that truly break my heart. I worry about them, I focus on their problems, I get discouraged. Hopeless. Mad. I asked Jesus to help me with these tough emotions, these precious kids.
The answer He gave me involved a basket. (Of course it did). A wise friend of mine encouraged me to write the names of the students I have concerns about on little pieces of paper, put the papers into a basket, and pray for them whenever I start to worry. Even though I can't do much to help these little ones, I know the One who can. He knows all those names, and He knows their stories.
And He still does miracles. My little basket of hope has become a daily reminder that God can take my prayers—simple and small and seemingly not enough—and multiply the good in the lives of these kids. He can greatly increase the healing, the love, the resources, the answers they (we) all need.
Let’s invite Him in: Ask Jesus to multiply your faith. Give Him your prayers for healing, your concern for hurting people, your hard work in difficult places, your simple offerings. He can "keep up" your energy, your creativity, your hope. He wants to do miracles in the little bit that you are able to turn over to Him. Bring Him your basket, and let Him overflow your world with everything you need. Oh, and don't be surprised if there is plenty left over...