by Verena Johnson
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Here is a small boy with five small barley loaves and two fish, but how far will they go among so many? (John 6:9)
Ever been asked to do something impossible? Imagine how the disciples felt looking out over that huge crowd when Jesus asked, ‘Where shall we buy bread for all these people to eat?’
Philip gives a practical reply focusing on what they don’t have, which is more than half a year’s wages to even give everyone a bite. Andrew gives an answer that focuses on what they do have – five small barley loaves and two fish. Not much at all, in fact. While it’s a more positive answer than Philip’s, I can’t help wondering how stupid or embarrassed Andrew felt as he even mentioned this ridiculously small amount.
I also can’t help wondering why no-one else in that great crowd had brought anything at all with them to eat. Apparently, this boy’s mother was the only person with any foresight in the whole Galilee area. That boy probably also had a clean hanky, water and a warm jacket (just in case).
I wonder how that boy felt when he gave Jesus his food. Did he think he was going to go hungry? Did he trust that Jesus would put it to good use? Was he curious to see what Jesus would do? Did he expect a miracle?
Did the disciples expect a miracle, even after Jesus asked them to get everyone to sit down? And what about the crowd?
Regardless of their doubts or expectations, Jesus blew everyone away with what he did with that little amount of food. In Jesus’ hands, little was turned into much and small was turned into great.
We often forget what Jesus can do with our little. We can become focused on what we don’t have rather than on what we do have. Even if we look at what we do have, we can feel embarrassed, inadequate or lacking, because it doesn’t seem like we have much to offer.
This story reminds us of the Jesus factor. He can take our little and turn it into much. He can take our small gifts, talents and abilities and use them for great things. All we have to do is give them to Jesus as that boy did, and like that boy, we will see what Jesus can do with them!
Dear Jesus, I give you all I am and all I have today, even though it may seem like a small offering. I place myself in your hands, trusting that you will use me. Help me take advantage of every opportunity you give me today, knowing that in and with you, little is much. Amen.