15 December 2017

“… and finally.”

You’ve often heard it said, ‘the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach’, and from what I’m told the path to earning this characteristic starts early in life. Boys are hungry beings and judging by the stories my friends tell me, that would indeed appear to be the case. How many mothers have wondered where on the earth the vast quantities of food being consumed are going or how many mums have opened the door of a fridge they definitely filled the day before only to feel like Old Mother Hubbard?

Does it not seem strange then that a boy, a hungry boy who had gone without food all day, would hand over the only meal available for miles so that others might be fed? All four gospels record the miracle we know as the feeding of the five thousand. When you consider that it was five thousand men, plus women and children, the already impressive numbers have even more significance. And yet this miracle began with one.

Think about that ‘lad’ as he is called in John 6. He had listened to the Master’s words all day and now like the rest of the crowd he was faint with hunger. No doubt the smell of the bread and the aroma of the fish were irresistible and now he is faced with a choice. Have his lunch, a lunch which was after all his, or, hand it over. And what good could it do handing it over, how could his insignificant little lunch make any difference? We are not told whether this boy offered his lunch or if the disciples had seen him with it, that is not really important; what is important is he had to give it to the Lord so it could become something.

I do not know what you are carrying around in your ‘spiritual lunch box’ today but the instruction from the Lord over two thousand years ago is exactly the same today, “Bring them hither to me.” (Matt 14:18) It does not matter if we think our gift too small or insignificant or even useless. In fact it is all of the above until we give it to Him. In His hands the potential of five loaves and two fishes was unlimited and who can measure the power of a life submitted to Christ.

I am not saying for one minute that submission is easy. We are creatures who cherish and often guard our control jealously. But consider for a minute if this boy had kept his lunch for himself, for what seemed very sensible reasons (it’s not enough, it wouldn’t do any good and it’s mine anyway) what would the consequences have been? For the five thousand, none, the Creator of Heaven and Earth would have fed them anyway; for the boy, everything.

Can you imagine how this boy felt as he listened to the Messiah thank Jehovah for his lunch, as he watched his little lunch in the hands of the Master, as he stared open mouthed as thousand after thousand of empty stomachs were filled and satisfied with his ‘five loaves and two fishes’. Oh yes, how much he would have missed if he hadn’t handed it over.

The miracle began with one, who submitted all he had to the One. It is the Lord who makes the difference.

Vi Dawson