Your Fish & Loaves (Part 1)
One of my favorite stories in the Bible has to do with - not surprisingly - food.
And Jesus, of course.
In the book of John (in the second half of the Bible) we have an account of the life, teachings, and actions of Jesus during His time here on Earth. And in the sixth chapter of the book of John, we have a pretty cool story about one of the miracles of Jesus.
Here's what we are told in John 6:
Cool story right? Small lunch + lots of people + Jesus = leftovers.
But what can we learn from it?
Let’s rewind and break this story down a little bit.
In the previous chapters of the book of John, Jesus starts unloading some awe-inspiring, mind-bending miracles in the lives of people He met. And these stories had to have spread like wildfire. While they didn’t have things like Facebook Live, Snapchat or Twitter Moments to share what was "Breaking News", stories about a man who could turn water into wine and heal the sick and dying would spread FAST.
And so, by the time we get to John chapter 6, Jesus has started to develop a reputation, and people are wanting to get to Him to either try to experience a miracle in their own lives or simply to see if the stories they had heard at the “local town water well” were true about this guy named Jesus.
So we read in this passage that a crowd of thousands of people follow Jesus to this mountain side to watch Him and listen to Him teach.
I can’t help but be reminded of the short scene in the movie The Incredibles where the young neighbor boy is just staring at Mr. Incredible as he gets out of his car. This boy is staring at Mr. Incredible because he had previously seen him show off some of his superpowers. And Mr. Incredible asks the boy what he is waiting for and his response is precious. The boy states timidly, “I don’t know, something amazing - I guess.”
That’s what I imagine these thousands of people thinking.
They are simply waiting for something amazing to happen.
And while this story is often called the miracle of the Feeding of the 5,000 - Bible scholars tell us that it could be more aptly entitled: The miracle of the Feeding of 5,000 Men plus Women and Children (which, admittedly, is a mouthful of a title). During that time, crowds were counted in terms of the number of men, so women and children would have been excluded in that number. And scholars estimate that it very well could have been around 20,000 people there that day waiting for Jesus to do something amazing.
And He did.
Seeing this large crowd, Jesus asks His disciples what their plan should be to feed everyone. And the best idea presented was to use the small lunch that a young boy had offered up. Some bread and fish. And then Jesus took that food, prayed over it, and passed it out to the crowd. And it fed everyone! The author leaves absolutely no doubt that this was a miracle because there was no way that lunch could have fed everyone there. Jesus fed tens of thousands of people with a menu that would have left me hungry if I had eaten it all myself!
So how does this apply to you?
One of the main lessons from this story is that:
We all have something that we can bring to the table and make the world a better place. And whether or not you feel like it is good enough or large enough, Jesus can use what you have to create a better tomorrow for all of us.
Whether it be your inherent gifts, your burning passions, your inspiring story, or your valuable time - you have something to offer. And when you allow Jesus to enter the equation, there is no telling how many people can be impacted by it.
All it requires is you being willing to offer it up and share it.
So, what are your fish and loaves? What do you have to offer that can help others?