Money Talks - But What Is It Really Saying? Economics 101
Every election year brings a new debate on the economy. If ever there was a subject with wide-ranging, dogmatic differences of opinion, it is the economy. My undergraduate degree is in Business administration and I never shall forget my first college-level Economics course. There I learned the basic formula of economics that is called the law of supply and demand. It is a simple law. When demand exceeds supply, prices rise. When supply exceeds demand, prices decline. My Economics professor explained it in the following manner. Pretend there is a store that sells apples. On a given day there is a tremendous demand for apples. Outside the door there is a line of forty or fifty people waiting to buy apples. The supply of apples is low. What does the storeowner do? He raises the prices of apples because the demand is exceeding the supply. On another occasion, there comes a time when there are a hundred apples in the store and no one has an interest in apples. There is no demand whatsoever. No one is asking for apples. They are about to rot and will become of no use to anyone. So, what does the storeowner do? He puts them on a sale table and lowers the price of apples because the supply is exceeding the demand. The law of supply and demand simply stated is that when demand exceeds supply, prices go up, and when supply exceeds demand, prices go down.
Now, what does all this have to do with Christ’s feeding of thousands of people on the Galilean hillside? That experience was all about the law of supply and demand. Without Christ, demand always exceeds supply and the cry is “not enough!” With Christ, supply always exceeds demand and the cry is always “more than enough!” Of the 38 parables that our Lord told in the Gospels, one-third of them deal with our relationship to our own material possessions. One out of every six verses in Matthew, Mark and Luke discuss the right use of material goods. Our Lord reminds us that our money talks and is saying something about our commitment to Him.
One day our Lord laid out His economic plan for His people. He did not lay it out in the halls of government but on a green, grassy hillside in Galilee. That experience reminds us today that without Christ, demand always exceed supply and the cry is “not enough.” With Christ, supply always exceeds demand and the cry is “more than enough.”
Without Christ demand exceeds supply and the cry is “not enough.”
“…Two-hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient…” John 6:1-9
A need had developed in Galilee. The demand was great. Thousands of people were gathered together far away from home without any food. There was no apparent supply to meet the demand. That is always the way it is without Christ. It may be that some reading these words are sitting on that hill this very day. Without Christ there is never enough. Demand always exceeds supply. Those who try to fill the void of life with money never have enough How much is enough? Just a little more. How much sex is enough? Just a little more. How much recognition is enough? Just a little more. Why? Because the void of life is so large that only Christ can fill it.
There were three things that brought about this problem of demand and supply in Galilee. First, there was no sense of planning (John 6:1-5). These people did not think ahead. There were thousands of men, women and children who had no sense of proper planning. They had a demand for which there was no apparent supply. The problem turned out to be an opportunity for the Lord Jesus Christ to work a miracle. IN fact, all miracles begin at the platform of problems. The heartcry of so many today is “not enough.” The reason is not that much different. There is no proper sense of planning for so many today.
They also found themselves in their predicament because they had no sense of purpose (John 6:5-9). Phillip and Andrew best illustrate this very fact. The Lord said that He was “testing” them (John 6:6). He had asked Phillip where they should buy bread to eat and John 6:6 reveals an interesting insight into our Lord. It says, “This He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do.” Not only did he already know what He was going to do with Phillip and the multitudes, but He also knows what He is going to do with you and me. Our Lord was testing His disciples. Phillip gave and interesting response to Christ’s question. He replied that “two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little” (John 6:7). Phillip had a cash register for a mind. The first thing he thought about was neither the glory of God nor the power of the Lord Jesus Christ, but how much would it cost? Not long before he had seen our Lord turn water into wine. However, Phillip dealt with the dilemma at hand the same way an atheist would. He looked only at what he could see. Give Phillip an “F”. He flunked. He had no sense of purpose.
Andrew comes on the scene. He says, “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish” (John 6:9). He is doing great thus far, but unfortunately he continues — “but what are they among so many?” Andrew crashes and burns. Give him an “F” also. Now Phillip and Andrew were both soul winners (Phillip found Nathaniel and brought him to Jesus, and Andrew found Peter and brought him to Jesus). But on the Galilean hillside they became part of the problem and not the solution because of no sense of purpose. Our Lord was testing them. I believe HE was hoping they would say, “Lord, this is no problem for You. We watched You turn water into wine. You can do anything!” But neither Phillip nor Andrew figured Christ in to the equation. Without Christ demand always exceeds supply. Phillip and Andrew are still around today. There are some who are ever looking over the scene for human possibilities to solve problems with their own resources. The disciples also found themselves in their predicament because they had no sense of potential (John 6:9). A lad comes on the scene who has a sack lunch with five barley loaves and two small fish. Look at that boy. HE left home with enough to feed thousands of people and did not even know it. Demand often exceeds supply and it’s not just because of no sense of planning or no sense of purpose. Sometimes it is because we have no sense of potential. Some reading these words left home this morning with unlimited potential and did not even know it. It is not the size of our lunch that matters but whether Christ possesses it. Little is much when God is in it.
Without Christ, demand always exceeds supply and our cry is “not enough!” Some of us have a need today for which there is no apparent supply. Perhaps it is material. Perhaps it is spiritual. Perhaps it is emotional. For Phillip, there was not enough money. Not enough bread. “Not enough,” is the cry of so many today. Without Christ, demand always exceeds supply. Why? Because some of us, like those in Galilee, have no sense of planning. Others of us have no sense of purpose. And some of us have no sense of our own potential. Christ is “testing” us as He did those in Galilee. God has His own way of opening up heaven to those who figure Christ into the equation of life. It is the enteral law of supply and demand.
With Christ supply exceeds demand and the cry is “more than enough.”
“… Jesus took the loaves… and distributed them… and likewise the fish, as much as they wanted.” John 6:10-15
We all know the story well. Jesus took the bread and fish, gave thanks to the Father, and multiplied it across the multitude. After everyone had eaten there were twelve basketfuls of fragments that remained which were gathered. Yes, more than enough!
How did it happen? The boy gave (John 6:9-10). He could have clutched his brown paper bag, but he gave it to the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus looked at the prospects. They were not much. Just a lad and a lunch. The boy planted a seed that day. He gave.
The boy gave all (John 6:11). He could have given one loaf and one fish and kept the rest for himself. But he gave everything that he had. That exchange between the lad and the Lord tapped the eternal resources of heaven and moved them into the bankrupt affairs of men. The lad reminds us today that he gave and he gave his all. And, then he stayed around to expect a miracle.
One of the most beautiful parts of this whole story is that the boy gave again (John 6:12-13). After everything was eaten there was more left over than there was to begin with. The boy would have the opportunity to give again. We never give anything to the Lord Jesus Christ and lose it. He gives it back to us again and again. Note the secret of God’s own economy. The boy gave to Jesus. The lord Jesus gave to the disciples. The disciples gave to the crowd and the more they have the more there was to give. And the crowd even had the opportunity to give back. The Bible says “they were filled” (John 6:12). Most of us would stop there. The need was met. Praise the Lord! But if it’s great to get a blessing, it’s greater to be a blessing. Jesus then says, “Gather up the fragments that remain.” Now the people gave! The same ones who cried “not enough” are now crying “more than enough!” Yes, with Christ supply always exceeds demand and the cry is “more than enough.” There were 12 baskets of food left over. And the boy? He who gave so little would have the privilege of giving again. This is God’s plan of economy.
It is interesting that Jesus said, “Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost” (John 6:12). Note He said “so that nothing is lost.” What did our Lord mean? This is the same Greek word that is translated “perish” in John 3:16. It is the same Greek word that is translated “ruined” in Matthew 9:17. It is the same word that is translated “perish or spoiled” in John 6:27. Our Lord Jesus wants us all to know that He is in the business of “picking up the pieces” of lost, spoiled, perishing, wasted, ruined lives and using them again! He wants us to gather up the pieces of broken lives today so that none will be wasted or lost.
Remember, it’s not the size of the lunch that matters but whether we are willing to let our Lord Jesus Christ have it all. The lunch did not do any good at all until it was placed in the hands of the Lord, and when it was, what a difference it made! Some of us who have been crying, “not enough” have potential like a little lad and don’t even know it.
Without Christ, demand exceeds supply and the cry is “not enough.” With Christ, supply exceeds demand and the cry is “more than enough.” Without the Lord Jesus Christ factored into the equation of life, we will never be satisfied. There will never be enough. When we ask ourselves how much is enough, we will always reply, “Just a little more.” But with Christ, supply will always exceed demand and “more than enough will be our theme.”
Look finally at that little lad once more. He left home with enough in his little sack lunch to feed thousands of people and didn’t even know it! Some of us say, “I can’t do much. I am like a lad with a lunch.” Then do what you can. The Lord Jesus Christ is not looking for your ability, but for your availability. We are full of potential. All we need for a miracle is lad, a lunch, and the Lord. Little is much when God is in it.