We are familiar with the story reported in the Gospel of Mark where Jesus took five loaves of bread and two fish, gave thanks, and proceeded to distribute the bread and fish to a crowd of five thousand men, not counting women and children.
“They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve baskets of broken pieces of bread and fish” that were left over. (Mark 6:30-44)
The five loaves and two fish were of course, insufficient to feed such a large crowd, but Jesus took what was insufficient and made it sufficient.
He does the same thing with us. He takes what is insufficient – our faith, our love, our knowledge, our wisdom, our various skills – and makes them sufficient to carry out his will and purpose.
Thirty-six years ago, three men in three different cities were trying to develop some kind of Christian outreach to people in business. Each of them was trying to serve a need – helping people in business to see how God was calling them to impact the marketplace by bringing the presence of Christ to bear through their day-to-day actions.
Two of them, Louie Grams from Minneapolis and John Mooney from Phoenix, Arizona, met at a conference and discovered they were each trying to do the same thing. Thereafter, Louie and Bud Rose from South Bend, Indiana got together and started to develop a format for a possible retreat. They then met with John, and together prayed and asked God how they should proceed.
Over a couple of different weekends their prayer resulted in the outlines for a weekend retreat where attendees would be given a vision of being Christ in the workplace. They would be encouraged and equipped to be God’s presence in their work by the power of the Holy Spirit, exercising faith, integrity and excellence in their day-to-day actions. They would be challenged to be good stewards of God’s creation, using their talents, time, money and possessions to impact how business gets done.
Today, Christians in Commerce (CIC) has thirty-three chapters across the United States, with a multitude of small groups meeting weekly. Fifteen thousand people have attended the weekend retreats and have been empowered by the Holy Spirit to make a difference in their workplaces. Twenty-three chapters in Africa have brought Christian renewal not only to Christian business people, but also to marriages, and youth. Food for the poor and numerous water wells have contributed to the welfare of many communities.
Publications by CIC include a monthly newsletter and daily e-mail reflections which apply God’s word to workplace related challenges and issues. Podcasts share stories of people being Christ to the people and circumstances in their workplaces. A recent video based workshop, Working for our Father, gives people a vision for how important their work is to God and how it is a part of his plan for creation.
As Jesus multiplied the five loaves and two fish, we see how God takes the inspiration he has given to three men, and multiplies their efforts by the power of the Holy Spirit into something none of them would have been able to do on their own.
Whatever task we face, let us call on Jesus, the Great Multiplier, to assist our every action!