5 Then Jesus lifted up His eyes, and seeing a great multitude coming toward Him, He said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?”
6 But this He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do.
7 Philip answered Him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little.”
8 One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Him,
9 “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?”
10 Then Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” The men sat down, in number about five thousand.
11 And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted.
12 So when they were filled, He said to His disciples, “Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost.”
13 They gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten.
14 Then those men, when they had seen the sign that Jesus did, said, “This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.”
We see a picture deeper picture than hungry people being fed and the disciples gathering a lot of leftovers; we experience a spiritual implication. Some of these hillside loungers realized that their hunger was more than physical. Their souls were hungry and their hearts were filled in abundance with what delighted them more than the bread, the Bread of Life.
I can imagine that little boy speeding home, holding up the edge of his tunic, his leather sandals slapping along the dusty road, to tell his mommy that the Lord Jesus used his little lunch to feed the whole crowd. Do you think she believed him or had it verified by others? Had she packed that lunch only for him, or had she hoped that he could make a little money by selling the extra food? We don't know her motive or her reaction, but we know the impact of that motherly act of lunch-packing. She never imagined that lunch feeding over 5,000 people, while portraying a message of the Savior.
Today, if that little boy was around, someone would have coerced him into writing a book, or have it ghost written, there would be guest appearances, and celebrity sightings. Of course, he would have to start a ministry, complete with Capital Letters and Tax-Exempt Status. Maybe he would feel called or anointed to name it "Loaves for Jesus" or "Feeding the Multitudes." Not catchy enough. How about "Lads and Loaves"? It leaves out the women, that wouldn't be politically correct. "Spiritual Multiplication of Your Gifts"….no……"Torn Bread" if he started a Christian rock band…… "Hunger 4 God"……am I getting close?
He would be hailed as a hero, until he fell. The boy who started with simple obedience and service got sidetracked by believing all the things said and expected of him as a performer, a leader, a mouthpiece for pop Christianity.
Then, the public would find another hero to stand upon a marble pedestal, until the demands of Christian perfection and perfect good deeds tumbled him into the dirt. Because people aren't always willing to be holy, to do good, and walk with the Lord, they prefer to aspire to this through the success of others. If there are Christian heroes, we can live vicariously through them without actually having to be holy and busy….just identifying with them is enough.
This is where the danger is in our times. We want heroes and icons and Ministries instead of simple lives of faith, obedience and service.
This little boy was allowed to minister by giving, then he was allowed to slip back into the crowd and continue his life. He wasn't a hero. He wasn't a prophet. He wasn't worthy of honor. He just was privileged to meet and serve the One who IS. He was just a boy who gave all he had to the Lord.
How are we offering the Bread of Life to the starving masses around us? We must lay our gifts, talents and services on the altar, for Him to multiply and distribute as He sees fit. We must not long for pre-eminence and for platitudes, only for souls to be saved and lives to be changed.
After affecting the lives of 5,000 people with his little lunch, the lad remained nameless, for the Name Above all Names.
What are you willing to give to the Lord so that He can multiply it - for HIS glory and not your own?