Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the signs he had performed by healing the sick. Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. The Jewish Passover Festival was near.
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.” So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.
After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.” Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself. – John 6:1-15
The disciples are contrasted here with the boy who brought what he had. They had a few more resources than he did but they knew they didn’t have enough, so they didn’t give anything at all. The boy gave what he had, and it made all the difference. Jesus is teaching a lesson here; if we offer nothing to God, he will have nothing to use. But he can take what little we have and turn it into something great. Jesus also showed that God can use anyone and that age is no barrier. All can be of service to him.
Note the leftovers. God gives in abundance. He takes whatever we can offer him in time, ability and resources and multiplies its effectiveness beyond our wildest expectations.
Questions to ponder:
- What is your typical reaction to situations that seem to present no possible solution?
- How and when has God miraculously provided for your needs?