5 Jesus looked up and saw the large crowd coming toward him. He asked Philip, “Where will we buy food to feed these people?” 6 Jesus said this to test him, for he already knew what he was going to do.
7 Philip replied, “More than a half year’s salary worth of food wouldn’t be enough for each person to have even a little bit.”
8 One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said, 9 “A youth here has five barley loaves and two fish. But what good is that for a crowd like this?”
10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass there. They sat down, about five thousand of them. 11 Then Jesus took the bread. When he had given thanks, he distributed it to those who were sitting there. He did the same with the fish, each getting as much as they wanted. 12 When they had plenty to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather up the leftover pieces, so that nothing will be wasted.”
Can you imagine the scene? Like a concert in an open amphitheater – people hanging out on the grass, but in this case, apparently nobody remembered to bring a picnic basket except a boy who may have had some loaves and may have just been fishing. Maybe his parents sent him to try to catch some fish and maybe he was using some of the bread to catch the fish. We don’t know anything about this boy – he is not named; we don’t know if his parents are in the crowd or if he just happened by after getting food for his family. In any case, we know the disciples spotted him with some food and pointed it out to Jesus, although the story tells us that Jesus was way ahead of them with his solution to the problem. I have to wonder if the boy was worried that he and his family were going to lose their dinner or if in the presence of Jesus, he just trusted and had faith.
I think of the stories I see on the news and social media of small children who go out to hand out food to the homeless or start pantries or other small endeavors that turn out to be huge. Just like Alexandra Scott who at 4 years old started Alex’s Lemonade Stand to help fight cancer. Alex passed away in 2004 from neuroblastoma, but her lemonade stand organization has raised more than $250 million.
In these stories, the children are unafraid and so kind. They just go out and want to help. They have faith like, well like children. Many times, children are nervous or afraid to talk to strangers, and we have instilled that in them as we should, but there is also a sense of accomplishment as kids meet new people and do something kind. We need to continue to teach our children to be wary of strangers but also empower them to know how to share with others that are less fortunate, while not looking down on those or treating them less than. There are always fine lines in these lessons. I wonder what the conversation sounded like at that occasion so long ago, and if after everyone ate, they gave praise to Jesus but also praise to that boy for sharing what he had with all the others. We can only guess, but hopefully this will remind us to always be grateful to whoever is willing to help.
by Janet Waryck
For Pondering & Prayer
How many times do children have really good ideas and just need a little help to make them come to fruition and we are too busy to help or get involved? Do we often times feel like the work will fall to us? Do we just not believe the way they do? In what ways can we encourage the young people around us to help others or to let them lead us to help others?
Prayer: Jesus, help us to have faith in you as a child. Help us to see children and their abilities as you see them, and to be willing to let them show us the way to further your kingdom. Amen.