The Kid with the Loaves and the Fishes
By Janet Morris Grimes –
Even the occasional church-goer is familiar with this story. Mentioned in all four gospels, Jesus, distraught over the news that his cousin, John the Baptist, had been beheaded because of his beliefs, sought solace in a quiet place. He and his apostles boarded a boat to head across the Sea of Galilee, but the people, aware of his recent miracles, followed on foot, meeting him on the other side.
Jesus healed the sick among the vast crowd, then settled them down on the grass to teach them many things. After time, the crowd grew hungry, and the apostles advised Jesus to send them away, calculating that it would take six months’ wages to feed them all.
Jesus asked how much food they had available to them and received this answer from Andrew, “There is a boy here who has five loaves and two fishes, but what is the good of that for such a crowd?” (John 6:8).
Of course, Jesus proceeds to thank God, break the bread, and distribute it to the 5,000 men gathered there. The actual number fed that day is most likely closer to 15,000, taking into account the women and children. When all was said and done, they gathered up 12 baskets of leftovers, after the entire crowd had eaten to their satisfaction.
John is the only one to mention the source for the five barley loaves and two small fishes—a lad, a small boy.
As many times as I’ve read that story, I finally recognized the true hero, other than Jesus himself. The lad. We know very little about him, but we can gather these five things:
1) He heard the news.
2) He traveled alone.
3) He came prepared, ready to stay awhile.
4) He followed.
5) He offered all that he had to Jesus, and became an integral part of a famous miracle because of it.
The boy was there for a reason. I assume he traveled alone, that his mother prepared the lunch for him knowing he would be gone most of the day. He was willing to stay as long as possible, just to be close to Jesus. He answered the call for help, even though what he had to offer was miniscule compared to what they actually needed.
The first inclination for most would be to squander what they had, keeping it for themselves, maybe hiding behind a tree to eat it before it was discovered by the hungry masses. But this kid was willing to share, even if it meant he would go hungry. He could have easily saved it for the trip home, avoiding the eyes of the apostles as they searched for food.
I also imagine the crowd was getting restless, cranky and complaining because of the break in the action as Jesus spoke privately with his apostles about the problem. Most kids were probably whining, wondering when they could return home to their sand lot ballgames.
But not this kid. He brought all that he had to offer and laid it on the table before Jesus.
That is my goal for today—to be the kid with the loaves and the fishes. I want to go wherever Jesus happens to be, splaying down my meager offerings before Him, and then watching in amazement to see what He can do with them.
I can see this kid running home at full speed, empty lunch pail banging into his knees, saying “Mom, you just aren’t going to believe this…”