(In this Children’s Sermon, I refer to visiting the Church of Multiplication in Israel. You can leave this part out if you want or you can include it.)

Good morning, girls and boys. I brought something to show you. Anyone know the answer to this flash card? 4 x 2 = ? What do you call this kind of math? Multiplication. We take 4 and we multiply it 2 times, we get eight. Four grew twice as big. That’s multiplication. Did you know that when I went to Israel last spring, I visited a church called the Church of Multiplication? It was in the village of Tagbha and something big happened when Jesus was there. It was so wonderful that they built a church there. I wonder if you can guess what happened by looking at the church.

This is the church. They have a courtyard and in the middle they have an olive tree, surrounded by five bowls, -which kind of look like the bread they have there. The tree has a little pool around it, and in the water, there are fish. Inside the church, underneath the altar is a rock, and in front of the rock there is a picture made out of little bitty tiles, of fish and loaves.

Yes, Jesus was teaching a crowd of people. It grew late and the disciples knew the crowd was hungry, so they said, Jesus, send them away, so that they can find food. And what did Jesus say, “You give them something to eat.” “We don’t have enough money to buy” Jesus said, “Go see what you have. They found 5 loaves and 2 fish. The people sat down. Jesus blessed and broke the food and MULTIPLIED IT. There was so much left over it filled 12 baskets full.

I love this story because it reminds me of something very special that God can do for you and for me. That when I’m trying to be close to God, God can take what I have and multiply it, make it grow, if I ask God to. If I am trying to be brave to stand up for someone, for example. I can say “God, I’m a little brave, but not brave enough. Would you help me? And God will. God will multiply my braveness, so that I can do what God wants me to do. If I’m trying to be generous, but I’m feeling stingy with what I have, I can ask God to help me multiply my generosity, and God will. That’s a wonderful gift!

Let’s pray. Dear God, thank you for helping the good things grow in our lives when we ask for your help. We love you, God. Amen.