My mouth dropped open at the number on the screen. A few minutes earlier, a friend sent a text that a gift was on the way. “It isn’t much . . . but it’s something!” she said, knowing that medical bills were starting to show up and add up.
Her “not much” brought me to tears. With the click of a button, she completely covered the cost of a medication that I needed to pick up that afternoon.
It wasn’t long before another bill arrived. With no answers in sight, I opened the envelope and skimmed the lines, my eyes landing on the amount insurance would cover: $0.00. I sighed, wrote another check, and mumbled “Really? Nothing? They won’t cover even one penny?” to an empty room.
Two days later, I walked to the mailbox and found a card inside. After months of working on a project for one of my clients, a short and sweet note arrived with this exact sentence:
“You’re worth every penny.”
The words were kind, no doubt about it. They would have meant a lot on any day of any month of any year. But more than the phrase, it’s the timing and the specifics that I haven’t been able to shake. Before I held a bill, someone else picked up a pen to write a note with the exact words that I needed.
On a morning when bare branches stood in stark contrast against nearly white skies, I opened Instagram and was instantly hit by a wave of kindness in the middle of winter. Much to my surprise, an acquaintance shared several of my posts with her people, suggested that they click over for more encouragement, and then carried on with her day. In doing so, she pulled out a seat at the table to make a little more room, generously and graciously using that word we all love to hate—her platform—to support another.
These three moments happened over the course of several months. A whole lot of life was lived in between, and yet I continue to come back to these thoughtful gestures.
Each one may have been small to the giver, but they were day-changing, week-making, still-reflecting-on-it-months-later to the recipient.
Three different women offered what they had, and it turned out to be abundantly more.
It reminds me of a story found in all four Gospels. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John each tell of a time when Jesus fed several thousand people with one child’s lunch.
“When Jesus, with compassion for the hungry and restless crowd, instructed the disciples to feed those who had gathered, Philip replied ‘It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!'” (John 6:7)
Quite simply, there wasn’t enough. By any worldly standard, it was impossible. The only solution they could come up with, other than sending the people away, was laughable.
“Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” (John 6:9)
Does it strike you that the description John gives us—twice—is simply the word small? And yet the story doesn’t end with lack but with plenty.
Each Gospel writer shares their own perspective, but they all have one common theme: abundance.
They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children (Matthew 14:20-21).
They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish. The number of the men who had eaten was five thousand (Mark 6:42-44).
They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over (Luke 9:17).
Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten (John 6:11-13).
It isn’t printed on the pages of Scripture, of course, but each mention of the twelve baskets feels like a wink written right into the story.
Not only did an ordinary lunch become a small offering that satisfied thousands . . .
Not only did a meager offering become more than enough . . .
Even the leftovers are a miracle in and of themselves, plenty for all twelve tribes of Israel and provision for the entire world.
In the hands of Jesus, “not enough” becomes abundantly more.
And sometimes, as three women showed me over the last year, God uses the body of Christ to be the very same to one another.
Whether it’s our resources, our words, our time, our kitchen tables, or our social media feeds, may we be women who believe we have something to offer and then share what we have, no matter how small, trusting that the Giver of all will satisfy and multiply.