Walt Disney: It’s Not About the Budget

Text: Mark 6:30-44

“Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God.” — 2 Corinthians 3:5

In 1963, Walt Disney hired Alice Davis to contribute her skills in designing costumes for his “It’s a Small World” attraction. When Alice asked Walt how much she was allowed on budget per garment, he looked at her and said, “No Alice, that isn’t it. I want you to design a costume for each one of these dolls that every woman would love to have, from the age of one to a hundred. I have a building over there filled with people that find out where to get the money.”

Walt didn’t want Alice encumbered about the budget because he wanted to free her creativity and imagination to thrive. Therefore he simplified it for her: Give me what you have and don’t concern yourself about what you don’t have. My building over there will take care of the rest.

I love those moments in scripture when Jesus simplifies life and mission for his disciples. We see one of those moments in Mark 6. The disciples had just returned from a mission trip and they were reporting to Jesus all they had done and taught. They were tired and exhausted, just wanting a quiet place to eat and rest but the crowds prevented that from happening. Thousands of people were pressing to learn more about this miracle worker from Galilee. It says that when Jesus looked upon those crowds, he had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.

Here they were doing ministry out in the middle of nowhere and it was very late in the day. People are getting “H-A-N-G-R-Y,” including the disciples. So they tell Jesus, “send the people away” that they can go find themselves some food in the villages. But watch how Jesus takes a logistical crisis and simplifies the whole situation.

“You give them something to eat,” he tells the disciples.

They immediately default to budgetary concerns and statistical improbabilities: “It would take more than half a year’s wages to feed all these people.” And just like Jesus did in so many other occasions, he uses a brilliant short question like a surgeon’s knife to cut away the superfluous and get to the heart of what God is up to. “How many loaves do you have?” he asked. “Go and see.” Their inventory review accounted for five loaves and two fish—something akin to a Happy Meal. You know the rest of the story. Over five thousand men ate and were satisfied, and that doesn’t account for all the women and children who ate with them.

I must admit that when I look at the problems in the world, whether across the street or across the ocean, my little seems terribly insufficient. The demands feel overwhelming and impossible. What do I have to offer that can make any real difference? But I’m reminded that when Jesus says, “Give me what you have,” he doesn’t want me hampered by the question: What good does my little matter among such a great need? The all-sufficient God of this universe doesn’t need my sufficiency. He just wants my participation. The all-knowing omniscient One doesn’t need me to know it all or have the perfect plan to execute. He just wants my “Yes.”

God wants you to thrive in the “little” you have—gifts, abilities, resources, etc.—and leave what you don’t have to His all-sufficient providence. Give me what you have and don’t concern yourself about what you don’t have. My building over there will take care of the rest. Worthy thoughts to consider as you seek to abide in “El Shaddai”­—the all-sufficient One—this week.

PRAYER

God, it is so easy to look at what we don’t have and feel inadequate. But it is never about our insufficiency; it is always about your all-sufficiency. You long to do wonders with our simple ‘yes.’ Our little is never too small in the hands of a big God. Holy Spirit, teach our heart to live in this remembrance. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Questions for personal reflection, small group discussion, or dinner table conversations:

  1. What was a time when you had to do something that you thought was impossible? What happened? 
  2. How did Jesus respond to the crowds of people waiting to see Him? (Mark 6:34) What does Jesus’ reaction to the crowds tell you about His character and mission? (v34)
  3. What problem did the disciples bring to Jesus? Why? (vv35-36) What does the disciples’ reaction to Jesus’ solution tell us about them? (v37)
  4. Why do you think Jesus provided much more than enough food for the people, then had the surplus carefully collected? What do you think Jesus wanted to teach His disciples through this miracle?
  5. What is one possession or ability, not matter how little it may be, that you need to give to the Lord so that He can use it for His glory?

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