Mar 6:37-38 But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said to him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give it to them to eat?” And he said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” And when they had found out, they said, “Five, and two fish.”

Let us return to Jesus and the disciples on the hillside. The sun is beginning to go down and perhaps as many as 10,000 people (including women and children) are in need of food and drink. Jesus’ next move was to establish what resources were available for the task. He involved the disciples by directing them to ask the crowd what food they had brought with them. It seems that most of the crowd had left home earlier that day not expecting to be away for long. All the disciples could find were five loaves and two fish, not much of a feast for such a large number!

Knowing one’s resources is a crucial element in starting to plan any activity. The Bible makes clear the importance of assessing the cost before setting out. In Luke 14:28-30 Jesus, instructing the multitudes about the importance of counting the cost of following him, illustrates the point with a building analogy. With a rhetorical question Jesus asks which of them would not assess the cost of building a tower before laying the foundation. What ridicule we shall be exposed to if we set out on a course and are then not able to finish because of a lack of forethought! Once resources are assessed we are in a position to mix the known situation with faith and make our decision on that basis.

As the story unfolds I notice key elements that often apply to a project. Here we see the importance of knowing the resources are readily available, a process in the development world called ‘Appreciative Inquiry’. Use what is in front of you and expect God to make up for the deficit!

Learning point: Establish the resources available.

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