Today’s Truth

The third time He said to him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ He said, ‘Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.’ Jesus said, ‘Feed my sheep.’”

John 21:17

Friend to Friend

Giving is not just about money. That does not mean we should be less than generous with the money God has given us. We should be quick and happy to share the financial resources we possess. But Kingdom giving encompasses every part of our lives.

The only miracle besides the resurrection of Jesus reported in all four Gospels is the feeding of the five thousand. As a teacher, I know the importance of repetition. If a truth is worth repeating four times, it is an important truth, and we need to listen up!

Huge crowds followed Jesus to the Sea of Galilee. Many of them were lame, blind, crippled … all seeking the healing touch of Jesus. And He healed each one. It took three days. When it was time for the people to return home, Jesus realized they needed food to make their journey home and shared that need with His disciples.

I can imagine the blank stares of the disciples as they tried to figure out how to feed the crowd. It probably seemed ridiculous to even consider feeding 5,000 men (and about 10,000 women and children). Jesus’ response in Matthew 15:34 was simple: “How many loaves do you have?” And with the meager resources at hand, a few loaves and fish, Jesus fed the hungry.

Most of the time we don’t realize how many “loaves” we have. We don’t consider the many ways we can feed the people God has placed in our world. Those people are there for a reason.

We can serve a loaf of reassurance to a neighbor whose husband has lost his job by inviting her over for a cup of coffee and a listening ear.

We can serve a loaf of support to an elderly friend who needs help buying groceries.

We can serve a loaf of encouragement to a young mom by offering to keep her kids for a couple of hours to give her a much needed break.

We can serve a loaf of joy to our family by preparing their favorite meal … just celebrating life together.

You have heard the old saying, “What goes around, comes around.” Truer words were never spoken when talking about encouragement. We all need encouragement – especially during the tough times. Those “tough” times can come in all shapes, sizes and forms and can vary from person to person.

We have one grandson who can run an extremely high fever, have a deep cut in his ear that is bleeding profusely, and have a headache that would put me in bed … all without a word of complaint. The doctors are amazed at this child’s high level of pain tolerance.

We have another grandson who has been known to dissolve into hysterics at the sight of a splinter embedded in a finger and turn ghastly pale and almost faint at the mere smell of the doctor’s office. The doctor’s have been amazed at this child’s low level of pain tolerance.

The difference between these two children does not reflect a right or wrong reaction. As one of my friends often says, “It is what it is!” When each child is in pain, they both need understanding, compassion and encouragement.

When the people in your life are in pain, they need a loaf of understanding, compassion and encouragement. God will take your “loaves” and meet those needs. How many loaves are you willing to give?

Let’s Pray

Father, I am amazed at how You love me through others. Thank You for the gift of encouragement. Help me receive that gift and then learn how to give it away to someone else in need. I want to be Your hands and feet to those who are hurting around me. Give me eyes to see them, Lord. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

  1. If you need encouragement, think of two people with whom you can share that need, and make a plan to do so.
  2. Look for people in your life to encourage.
  3. In your journal, record a recent time when you received and/or gave encouragement. What were the results?
  4. Write a note of encouragement to someone in need. Let them know you are praying for them. Offer to take care of a specific need such as preparing a meal, dropping by the grocery store to pick up a few items, or picking up their cleaning.       Many times, people in pain can’t or won’t ask for help. If you see a need, meet it.
  5. Write a note of thanks to someone who has encouraged you.

More from the Girlfriends

Need help learning how to encourage and encourage your family? Check out Mary’s video, How to Love Your Family. Discover four steps you can take to building a successful family. Be sure to check out the FREE MP3s on Mary’s website and connect with Mary through email or on Facebook.

9 Responses to “How Many Loaves Will You Give?”

  1. Gina says:

    God bless Girlfriends in God for the encouragement you give daily! Such a beautiful gift!

    Thanks for pointing out the different ways I can encourage others. I am reminded that even a small act of love or word of kindness can be a huge encouragement to someone who really needs it. I pray that I will be keenly aware of those in need of encouragement that God has placed in my path today.

  2. Jody says:

    How do I give encouragement to others after a year of receiving very little encouragement while journeying through a child’s depression, suicide attempts, marriage struggles and parents with health issues? Sometimes I wonder why He has denied me close friendships and wonder what I can change to build friendships? I know He
    is with me I have felt His presence of peace at times I would normally be spinning out of control, but I long for a friend I can see.

    • Shari says:

      Jody, I am praying for you.
      I can identify with your difficult season of life. I discovered that God wanted to teach me that HE is enough — God Alone — the best friend and support we have in any situation. When my focus shifted to Him I began spending much time in prayer and scripture. My faith and joy began to increase. When I was able to be a blessing to others He gifted me with several wonderful friends. It is difficult to wait, but His timing is perfect. Praise God!
      Jody, I pray that you will bask in God’s presence and that His peace, strength and joy will fill you to overflowing.

    • Angela says:

      My daughter’s name is Jodi, derived from the Hebrew for Jehudith. Her name means patience & courage. Patience can be also be translated as perseverance.
      I have also found myself without support in my situation, so can relate to how you feel.
      I pray for special friends to support you, and pray that God will sustain you and give you peace. I will be praying for your whole family.God bless you all.

  3. Davida says:

    I have read this and I am greatly blessed will share at our next Women’s Fellowship meeting.I’ll try and purchase a copy of the book.
    Many thanks and God Bless your Ministry.


  4. Sallie says:

    I thought about this post yesterday and gave to someone in need. #onebodyinChrist

  5. Ms. Moraa says:

    I have read this and I never knew encouragement was a loaf of bread given. Found out about this site yesterday (17 July 14) and I couldn’t have found it at a better time in my life. Thanks Girlfriends in God. 🙂

  6. GINA says:

    July 15, 2015 at 2:56 pm

    Shari of July 17, my neighborhood agrees with Girlfriends in God!

    God bless Girlfriends in God for the encouragement you give daily! Such a beautiful gift!

    Thanks for pointing out the different ways I can encourage others. I am reminded that even a small act of love or word of kindness can be a huge encouragement to someone who really needs it. I pray that I will be keenly aware of those in need of encouragement that God has placed in my path today.

  7. Thank you all for the kind words of encouragement! You gave me a loaf today!!!!

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"We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well…" 1 Thessalonians 2:8