“Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, “Here is a boy with five small barely loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” John 6:8
Read John 6:1-15
Of all the miracle stories in the Bible, this is one of my favorites–for many reasons. First of all, I love the fact that the lunch of five small barley loaves and two small fish belonged to a child.
Understand, the Bible leaves some of the details of this exchange to our imaginations, so I don’t know that this is exactly how the story unfolded, but I imagine it playing out in the following way:
The Bible tells us that Jesus asks Philip where they should go to buy bread for the five thousand people to eat. Philip replies that eight months of salary wouldn’t be nearly enough to feed the crowd of people.
Here is where things get interesting. I think that perhaps a young boy who is sitting close to where Jesus is teaching hears the conversation between Jesus and his friends and eagerly offers his lunch that his mom packed for him that morning. It would be just like a child not to see the futility of his meager lunch feeding such a crowd, but to instead faithfully hand over his bread and fish to Andrew to give to Jesus. And it would be just the typical adult thing to then bring it to Jesus—with the caveat of “but how far will they go among so many?”
Spark of Faith
Jesus was just waiting for that spark of faith. He takes the lunch, has everyone sit down, gives thanks for the fish and bread, and passes it around–and everyone took as much as they wanted (v. 11). After they had all eaten, Jesus wants nothing wasted, so the disciples gather up 12 baskets of leftovers!
Doesn’t it seem that we could learn a lot about faith from children? In most cases, their minds have not yet been clouded by the harsh realities of life. It’s not hard for them to believe in the improbable, or the impossible.Their eyes can easily see the thin space between the reality of this world and the unseen heavenlies where angels, miracles, and God all live. Jesus took the little boy’s lunch and multiplied it into a buffet for 5000.
That’s the kind of faith that Jesus is watching for, that we need to cultivate. A faith that causes us to unflinchingly step forward and offer up our bread and fish to Jesus to multiply beyond our wildest expectations.
When we feel that nudge of the Spirit to take our offering to God, we need to stamp out the adult voice that rises up with a “But, …” and just give it. Or just do it.
What does this look like in our lives?
- The nudge to give that $20 to a charity, even though it’s just a drop in the bucket of what’s needed.
- The nudge to teach a Bible class, even though you’re not a “real” teacher.
- The nudge to keep praying for your wayward child, even though you haven’t seen any change in three years.
- The nudge to start a Moms-In-Touch prayer group at your child’s school, even though you’ve never led anything in the past.
A vibrant faith requires that I present to God what I have. Jesus is waiting for people with a fish-and-loaves faith to take Him up on His promises so He can to equip us (2 Timothy 3:17) and set us loose in His kingdom. The results are up to Him.
What do you have to offer Him today? We’d love to hear your thoughts.
Fish-and-Loaves Faith is the second post in our faith series. Please leave a comment below on your thoughts, feelings, or experiences in growing your faith.
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