1 After this Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, also called the Sea of Tiberias. 2 A large crowd kept following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing for the sick. 3 Jesus went up the mountain and sat down there with his disciples. 4 Now the Passover, the festival of the Jews, was near. 5 When he looked up and saw a large crowd coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?” 6 He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he was going to do. 7 Philip answered him, “Six months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.” 8 One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, 9 “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But what are they among so many people?” 10 Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” Now there was a great deal of grass in the place; so they sat down, about five thousand in all. 11 Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted. 12 When they were satisfied, he told his disciples, “Gather up the fragments left over, so that nothing may be lost.” 13 So they gathered them up, and from the fragments of the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten, they filled twelve baskets.
-John 6:1-13, NRSV
While this story of the “Feeding of the Five Thousand” appears in all four of the gospels, I’ve always been partial to John’s retelling of it. All four gospels tell of the large crowd of people, the meager resources of food, and the savior who miraculously multiplies those resources to nourish all. All four gospels include those key details.
Only John mentions the boy.
In John’s telling of this miracle story, it’s not Peter who provides the loaves and fish. It’s not Andrew or James or John. It’s not even Jesus. It’s a boy… a young boy who shares his food with Jesus. Without the boy’s gift, the boy’s food, the boy’s generosity, this miracle wouldn’t have happened.
I doubt the boy thought his gift would be enough to satisfy a crowd or solve the big problem. And yet… he was able to see, in this resource-drought of a situation, that he had some resources to offer. How miraculous!
I was reminded of this scripture story this week in the midst of a webinar on financial leadership. The webinar presenter shared a video story of a young girl who had a boy-from-the-Gospel-of-John kind of outlook on life.
Take a look for yourself: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwQZggdZrOo
“She’s only three years old!” the presenter reminded us. “And even she recognized that she had resources to offer! How miraculous!”
The world is facing some pretty significant problems right now… problems that make the problem “five loaves and two fish for five thousand” look like a seaside picnic. None of us have all the resources necessary to meet those problems… but all of us have resources. All of us have something to offer.
May we, in faith, hand it over to Jesus, too. Who knows what miracle he’ll perform with it?!?
Our God is bigger than coronavirus.
Our vision is bigger than coronavirus, too.
We are people blessing people.
We are Wesley Church.
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