“There is a boy here who has
five loaves of barley bread and two fish.
But they will certainly not be enough for all these people.
Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks,
and distributed to those who were seated
as much as they wanted.
He did the same with the fish.”
“When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do. Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” 13 So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.” John 6:5 – 13
As a little girl I remember learning this story in Bible School. It captured my attention because of the fact that Jesus performed this miracle using a little child’s lunch. As word of Jesus’s miracles and healings spread, his popularity among the people grew, and on this particular day, over 5000 people had gathered to see him. As the story goes, Jesus first asked Philip for a human solution to this problem. How could we possibly feed more than 5000 hungry people? Jesus already knew what he was going to do, but he wanted to strengthen Philip’s faith (and anyone else who hears this story!) in the process. Philip immediately began assessing the probable cost of feeding this massive crowd. By going through this process, Jesus highlighted the fact that financial resources are not the most important ones. By Philip’s account, it would be humanly impossible to feed this huge crowd. But with God, all things are possible! Jesus can take the little that we have to offer and turn it into something great.
Something else that we see in this story is that the boy gave what little he had while others gave nothing. I’m sure there were others in the crowd, including the disciples, who probably had more resources than the boy, but they felt they didn’t have enough to make a difference, so they gave nothing. If we offer nothing to God, He will have nothing to use. The boy gave the tiny amount that he had, and Jesus used it to perform one of the most spectacular miracles recorded. With the boy’s small lunch, Jesus fed the enormous crowd and even had enough left over to feed all twelve disciples!
God can take whatever we offer Him in our time, talent, and resources and multiply its effectiveness beyond our wildest imaginations. No matter what your age, physical abilities, bank account balance, skill level, intelligence, or family background, if you take the first step in making yourself available to God, He can take what you offer and use it in mighty ways to advance His kingdom.
So what’s in your “lunch box” today?