“One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Him, ‘There’s a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish-but what are they for so many?'”-John 6:8
I see him in my mind’s eye as a little blonde felt-board figure. He is placed neatly between Jesus and the disciples, his tiny felt-board basket floating in front of him. This nameless boy isn’t the focus of the story. Yet when I read about Jesus feeding the 5,000 now, far from the felt simplicity of children’s church days, I see him ever more clearly.
I struggle a lot with fear. I struggle with feeling intimidated. I wrestle continually between wanting to thrive as the person God created me to be, and questioning who that person is and if she has what it takes. The little voice in my head is not my biggest cheerleader. I’m officially in my late 20’s (#overthehill), so the “finding myself” defense doesn’t really carry weight anymore. This is the stage of life where it’s time to stop talking and start doing. I find myself continually poised on the edge of the high dive, wondering how bad the belly flop is going to hurt. As I have brought these things before the Lord, I’ve felt him call my attention to the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000.
When we study this story in John 6, our focus is, of course, on Jesus. The feeding of the 5,000 was one of his major miracles (if you can rank miracles as major/minor). One person we rarely talk about is the boy with the food. He only appears in the account in John. Even Matthew, Mark, and Luke were so focused on the performing of the miracle that they didn’t highlight his presence. But I believe he made it into the Bible for a reason.
There he sat, the crowd growing restless around him. Though they didn’t have the term, I’m sure the people of bible times got hangry. He sees Jesus and the disciples talking. Maybe he puts two and two together. Maybe his mom just taught him to share. We don’t know the details, but one way or another, he offers up what’s in his basket. Assuming the boy is relatively lucid, we can assume he is aware that five loaves and two fish are not going to feed this mass of people. But it’s what he has, so he gives it freely.
I want to be like him. I want to be brave enough to speak up about what I have to offer, even if it seems like it’s not enough. I want to have faith to believe that Jesus will make it enough. I want to trust that if it’s not enough, Jesus will cover the deficit. I want to be faithful with what I’ve been given, regardless of whether it looks like much. I want to rest knowing that’s all that Jesus has asked of me.
What’s in your basket, friends? I’ve got a lot of ideas, dreams, giftings, songs to sing, and maybe even a little pocket change in mine. I’m praying for the boldness to offer those up to the Lord without fear. I’ll pray that for you too.
“Then Jesus took the loaves, and after giving thanks He distributed them to those who were seated-so also with the fish, as much as they wanted. When they were full, he told His disciples, ‘Collect the leftovers so that nothing is wasted.’ So they collected them and filled 12 baskets with the pieces from the five barley loaves that were left over by those who had eaten.”-John 6:11-13