Sunday, November 1, 2015
"There's a young boy here with five barley loaves and two fish. But what good is that with this huge crowd?" — John 6: 9
Maybe, like me, you sometimes wonder which character in the Bible you wish you could have been. My decision is always easy—it’s the little boy in the verse quoted above from the Gospel of John. It’s one of the disciples who is speaking, but what is not said is how the disciple came to know what the little boy had. I think it was because that little boy looked at what he had and guessing that he would not eat that day if he gave it away, he offered it anyway to one of the disciples. I can’t see a disciple grabbing a little boy and saying, “What have you got?” What I can see, is the little boy going up to the disciple, offering him the food his mother gave him to see him through the day, and saying to the disciple, “You can have all of mine.” I’ve had three little boys and they were always hungry (still are for that matter), so this boy offering all he had was a great sacrifice for him to make. He, unlike the disciple, did not think about how many needed to be fed or how much they would need. He simply saw the need and offered all he had. We know the rest of the story, with those five loaves and two small fish, Jesus fed well over 5,000 since they only counted the men and because it was a little boy who offered the food, we know that many women and children were also there. Not only was everyone fed, but there was food left over—twelve baskets full according to John’s Gospel. Imagine the courage and the faith of that little boy. He went up to an adult leader (very rare for a child in those days) and offered all that he had because he had heard the disciples complaining about how were they going to feed the crowd that had gathered. That kid had the right stuff. We don’t know if his voice was quivering when he offered his meager fare, but we know that the disciple took note and passed the word of the offering on to Jesus. Now, imagine how that child felt when he saw what his small gift had become, what had been done with what he thought was a small amount to offer. We all need to be like that boy. We think we don’t have much to offer, but we forget into whose hands we are placing our gifts. It isn’t the amount you have to offer or the kind of gift that’s important. It’s your willingness to give all you have to Christ for Him to use for others. You can’t worry about what little you have, you have to trust that God will take whatever you offer and multiply it so many times it will make your head spin. It’s not how little you offer, it is that you offer it, freely and with no thought of ever seeing it again. I believe (although the text doesn’t say) that the boy was pretty sure he wasn’t going to eat anything as he was giving all his food away. It’s that kind of heart we need to have if we are to be the gifts to God that He intended, wanted, and is waiting for us to be. If you say, “Here are my small gifts, use them” they will be used and even if you never see the end result, you can be sure that your five loaves and two fish will feed thousands. I want to have the heart of that little boy who said, “You can have all that I have to use however you can.” Jesus said we must be like children to enter the kingdom of heaven. Maybe He was thinking about that little boy on that day.