A DROP IN THE BUCKET
One of the disciples—it was Andrew, brother to Simon Peter—said, “There’s a little boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But that’s a drop in the bucket for a crowd like this.” … Then Jesus took the bread and, having given thanks, gave it to those who were seated. He did the same with the fish. All ate as much as they wanted.
John 6:8–11 (MSG)
Taylor first heard about Cans for Africa while serving on a leadership council at the University of Central Oklahoma during his freshman year. A man from Kenya by the name of John Kipsitet came and talked to the leadership about Cans for Africa—an organization he started because he wanted to do something to help African children affected by AIDS. His desire was to raise money to build a shelter, a clinic and a school for the orphans of Africa.
The concept behind Cans for Africa was birthed when John first visited the US and saw empty aluminum cans lying discarded everywhere he went. He was dumbfounded by what he saw, because in Africa, cans are a valuable commodity. You never saw a can on the ground, because to the people there, it represented money. John realized that if people would just collect the cans and turn them in to a recycling center, they could raise money and make an eternal impact in the lives of millions of kids affected by AIDS in Africa.
When Taylor heard about John’s vision, he was compelled to act. At this point, Cans for Africa wasn’t much more than the vision of one man, and John had come to the leadership council at the University of Central Oklahoma asking for help. As John spoke, Taylor recalled the words Jesus had spoken in the Sermon on the Mount: “If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much” (Matthew 5:46). He realized that Jesus didn’t do things for others based on what He could get back from them; He did it out of the overflow of His heart.
Challenged to step out of his comfort zone, Taylor decided to get involved. He was appointed as the leadership council’s chairperson responsible for overseeing the Cans for Africa project. He made it his mission to galvanize support for the organization by creating thousands of flyers and spreading the word as much as possible. And together, Taylor and John have raised 20 thousand dollars by collect almost one million aluminum cans.
What’s an aluminum can to you? Probably nothing whatsoever. It’s little more than a drop in a bucket. But to those whose lives are being impacted by Cans for Africa, a can is the difference between life and death.
The Bible tells us the story of a boy who didn’t have much but turned what little he had over to the hands of Jesus, and as a result, thousands of people were fed.
Jesus had been teaching and healing people all afternoon, but now it was getting late and people were starting to get hungry. Not wanting to deal with the prospect of a hungry mob of people at least ten thousand strong, the disciples came to Jesus urging Him to send the crowd home so they could get food for themselves. But rather than heeding their advice, Jesus told His disciples to go out themselves and give the people in the crowd something to eat. The disciples were stunned. There was absolutely no way they could get enough food to feed such a large amount of people. They would all have to work a month just to get enough money together to give each person a tiny piece of bread!
The disciples halfheartedly made their way through the crowd, checking to see if anyone had brought any food with them. Peter’s brother, Andrew, happened to stumble across a young boy who had brought his lunch with him to come hear Jesus that day. We don’t know much of anything about this little boy. We don’t know his name, his age or where he was from. What we do know is what he did … he gave his lunch—everything he had—to Jesus.
The lunch wasn’t much. It was simply five pieces of bread and two tiny fish. It amounted to nothing more than a drop in a bucket compared to what they needed to feed a crowd of five thousand hungry men, plus their wives and children. The boy was probably reluctant to even offer his lunch. In the face of such an overwhelming need, it must have seemed puny. Nevertheless, the boy surrendered his lunch of two fish and five pieces of bread. He didn’t make his decision to give Jesus his lunch because it was logical or practical; he made it based on faith.
Jesus took the bread and fish, thanked God for providing it, and gave it to His disciples to disperse to the crowd. The disciples looked at each other in confusion, shrugged their shoulders and proceeded to obey Jesus although they probably thought He was going crazy. As they distributed the bread and the fish, something miraculous happened. The more food they gave out, the more food kept appearing! Not only were the disciples able to feed everyone in the crowd until they were full, but they were able to gather twelve basketfuls of leftovers!
To the vast majority of people, five pieces of bread and two small fish or an aluminum can are totally insignificant. It’s a tiny drop in a massive bucket. But a tiny drop in the hands of God is more than enough to feed a multitude of more than ten thousand people or build a shelter, clinic and school for orphans in Africa.
What about you? Will you give everything you have—whether you think it’s much or just an insignificant drop in the bucket—and surrender it into the hands of God? If you’re willing, God can take what you’ve given and miraculously use it to bring glory to Him.
Take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee … take my heart, it is Thine own; it shall be Thy royal throne.
Frances R. Havergal