One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, ‘There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But what are they among so many people?’ (John 6:8-9)
When the boy saw thousands of people around the shore, he must have wondered what was going on. A man he had never seen before asked if he could have his lunch to feed the great multitude. The boy must have thought the man was joking—the food he had was only enough for him.
The disciples tried to persuade Jesus to send the people away because they didn’t believe they could find enough food for 5,000 people. But Jesus refused and told them they needed to feed the folks.
The boy thought his lunch wasn’t enough. The disciples thought the same. But it was. The offering itself may not have been enough, but Jesus multiplied the offering and all were fed.
There are times in our lives when we can feel like that boy and those disciples. Our gifts, energy, smarts, and abilities aren’t enough to get the job done. If we withhold our gift because we’re overwhelmed, nothing happens. But when we make our offering to Jesus, no matter how small, He can make it enough. The Lord desires our gift, for He wants us to have “skin in the game,” and because He wants us to trust in His power to provide.
May I encourage us to be like that boy. He gave his lunch and 5,000 people were fed. Jesus wants us to offer whatever we have; trusting He can multiply our gifts so that the need can be fulfilled and the mission can be accomplished.
If the boy’s parents had asked him if he had had a good day fishing, I wonder if he had told them that although he didn’t catch many fish, he did help to feed 5,000 people. If he did, his parents must have laughed at what they assumed was just one of their son’s outrageous “fish-stories.” But unlike the other stories their son may have told, this one was real. Their son wasn’t exaggerating.
Just imagine what great things Jesus can do when we offer what we have. Although we can all exaggerate some of our own stories, there’s no exaggerating the power of Jesus to make the small great, the paltry plentiful, the snack a feast.
- If the boy had withheld the gift of his lunch, the crowds could have gone home hungry. What happens when you withhold your own gifts? Who goes home, goes away, hungry?
- Do you focus more upon your inadequacies, or upon Jesus’ ability to provide? What would it take to move your focus from you not having enough to Jesus having more than enough?
- The boy, the disciples, and the crowd witnessed a miracle on that day when 5,000 got fed. How did they respond to the miracle? More importantly, how do you respond to the miracles in your own life?