The story of 5,000 people fed from one lunch must be pretty important; it is repeated four times in the Bible. While the story is typically shared from the adults’ perspective, I read it this week from the eyes of the giver, the little boy. I wondered what he experienced and if I would be as generous.
I invite you to peer into the story through his young eyes.
A large crowd had gathered in our town to see this man who was doing great and unexpected things. I wanted to be there, too. Maybe I’d see something big happen today.
I entered the crowd and everyone was standing, listening intently to every word this man said. As the sun moved across the sky, my stomach started to rumble and I thought how glad I was that mom had packed a basket for me. I knew others must be getting hungry too, but no one moved. I wondered, where will they find bread to feed all these people?
I have my small lunch. Should I offer it to one of those who are helping Jesus? Something inside me said that I needed to go and give what I have.
So, I stepped forward. As I reached the hill where Jesus’ team was standing, I talked to Andrew. With a pat on my head he laughed and said that he would tell Jesus about my gift. His look, however, affirmed my fear, “This is just a drop in the bucket.”
And then it happened. I saw Jesus look my way. He reached out his hand welcoming me to come forward.
And then it happened. I saw Jesus look my way. He reached out his hand welcoming me to come forward. Come, come, his motions said. His eyes were so gentle. Lifting my hands up, I gave him my basket, my lunch of five barley crackers and two sardines. It’s all I had. His smile of gratitude told me this was just what he was looking for—my little lunch. Somehow, I felt confident that in Jesus’ hands, it would be more than enough.
I watched as Jesus told his team to get everyone to sit down in the grass. As they left, I was still here, standing beside Jesus. The crowd looked like waves of wheat bending over in the breeze as they began to sit down. It got very quiet.
Jesus knelt down. Lifting up my basket, I heard him thank God for this bountiful provision. Then, from my little basket, Jesus began to divide the bread among his team with instructions to give it to everyone seated. What? Each time He reached in the basket, the bread multiplied. The same thing happened with the little fish. Multiplication and division—just like in math.
I ate and ate, and so did Jesus. The crowd seemed happy and full just like me. Mom would have never believed what I did with my lunch. It was more than enough to feed everyone, including me. I came hoping to see something big and I became part of something big!
As I read the story from the little guy’s perspective, my heart experienced a range of strong emotions:
• Fearful to give 100% of what I have. What if I get hungry before I get home?
• Intimidated to give such a small gift towards such an enormous need.Will it really make a difference?
• Scared to approach people who seem so much more knowledgeable than I.Will others view my gift as inadequate? Will they take advantage of me?
• Curious what others in my family will think if I gave what they had given me.Will they say I did something stupid?
• Hopeful that I might be part of a miracle.Is God calling me forward from the crowd?
It is so interesting that a child was the answer to the question Jesus asked His team at the beginning, “Where are we to buy bread so that all of these may eat?” Was the little boy the only one in the crowd with provision to respond to the need? It seems he was the only one who did step forward.
While we aren’t often the only one out of thousands with a lunch, I believe we are often in situations where we own the provision—the lunch that could launch a miracle.
When God is calling us forward out of the crowd, it’s tempting to hang back. In the face of an opportunity, we can close the door with questions like, “If I step forward, will I have enough? Will I be enough? Will others take advantage of me? Will this be used appropriately?” Is our better question, “Today God, where can I join you in the miraculous?”