The drop in the bucket effect

By Dave Henning / July 4, 2015

“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

In Chapter 13 (“Two Fish”) of The Grave Robber, Mark Batterson begins his discussion of Jesus’ fourth miracle, feeding the five thousand (John 6:1-13).  Pastor Batterson believes that the catalyst for this miracle was the boy’s willingness to give up his meal of five small barley loaves and two fish.

Mark notes that in the natural world it’s easy to assume that if you give more, you’ll have less.  The lesson embedded in this miracle is quite simple, as Mark explains: “if you put what you have in your hands into God’s hands, He can make a lot out of a little.”

Our natural inclination is to let what we aren’t able to do keep us from doing what we can.  Psychologists call this the “drop in the bucket effect.”  Mark describes the drop in the bucket effect this way:

“If we feel overwhelmed by the scale of a problem, we often don’t do anything about it because we don’t think we can make a difference.”

The amount of food the boy gave Jesus to feed the approximately twenty thousand men, women, and children present was a drop in the bucket .  Mark comments on the significance of the boy’s action:

“. . . he didn’t let what he didn’t have keep him from giving what he did have to Jesus.  And that is the precursor to many a miracle.”

Today’s question: How has the drop in the bucket effect played out in the aftermath of you vocation loss?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Cloudy with a chance of quail”


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Dave Henning


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