I have this memory of learning about adding fractions together. My mom was trying to help me understand the principles of fractions and adding them together. To aid in this endeavor she used the example of an apple. She cut the apple in half and asked me what half of an apple plus another half of an apple would equal. My answer wasn’t one, it was two. There were still two pieces of apple. I’ve always seen things differently than others tend to. Eventually I understood that the answer that they were looking for was one whole apple; that half of something plus another half is one whole. While there were two pieces in front of me, together they made one complete item.
But what do we do when the answer isn’t what we expected? What do we do when one and one is not two? One cup of vinegar plus one cup of baking soda doesn’t equal two cups of mixed liquid – some becomes gas in a chemical reaction. We are so used to things adding up and abiding by the laws of mathematics, or physics, or whatever the governing laws at work might be that we do not even think about the possibility of there being another possible answer.
That was what happened with the disciples and Jesus at the feeding of the 5,000. The disciples didn’t expect a miracle. They wanted Jesus to send the folks away. But in God’s kingdom, one plus one doesn’t always equal two, and five loaves of bread and two fish doesn’t equal a meal for one, it equals the ability to feed a crowd – a crowd of 5,000 men!
God can do more with our simple gifts that we bring than we can ever do with them. God is not limited by our doubt. God is not limited by our reasoning. The only thing that can limit God is God. The question is are we willing to trust God enough with our offerings, our loaves and fishes, that it can be multiplied by God’s math? Are we willing to give away what we have in order to see it be used and multiplied in the kingdom of God?