In the sixth chapter of John’s gospel, the story is shared of 5,000 hungry men who were fed by a boy’s loaves and fishes. Many years ago, I read a bible commentary in which the author thought perhaps this was a miracle, but not in the way we usually think of one. He thought, since people carried food bags with them in those times (much as we would take lunch with us each day), there was plenty of food available. The problem was that nobody wanted to share. Perhaps they felt the same way as the disciples—there were too many hungry people to feed, and they thought they didn’t have enough. Certainly, that is how many of us feel about our resources.
Then a young boy came forward. His act of sharing, combined with Christ’s blessings, opened thousands of food bags—proving more than enough for everyone. Whether or not this is how it happened, the commentator spoke gospel truth. If we all could get over our hoarding there would be enough, with leftovers to boot.
The key was the boy. He encouraged a great crowd. Jesus called on his followers to feed the needy. While everyone cowered and calculated, the boy brought what he had. I can only imagine the wide smile on Jesus’ face when he took the boy’s lunch. Whether Jesus multiplied it as we think, or whether the gift was a catalyst for more giving, I imagine there were a lot of people who went to bed that night thinking about that boy. A little child, indeed, had led them.
Bring what you have. Encourage others to do the same. Give it to Christ for a blessing. Then feast on the miracle. This is the gospel we believe, and the gospel we share.
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Director of Development
United Methodist Foundation of Indiana