If you have any semblance of Biblical literacy (being aware of the stories and narratives within), you are familiar with the story of Jesus feeding the five thousand. No worries if you don’t know what I’m talking about, I’m going to walk us through the account found in the Gospel of John. Because it is my favorite telling of this story, and it says much about becoming as little children.
In John chapter 6, we find Jesus on a hillside surrounded by the disciples. They are being followed by hoards of people that have witnessed the power this Jesus has to heal the sick. As Jesus sees the crowd looking for him, he turns to one of his disciples, Phillip, and says (in verse 5) “where can we buy bread to feed all of these people?” Just in case you were wondering where that question came from, verse 6 clarifies “He was testing Philip, for he already knew what he was going to do.”
Let’s pretend we are Phillip for a moment. We are already feeling slightly bewildered. When Jesus asked us to follow Him, there were no crowds. No miraculous signs. That all came about after we started after this Jesus. And as much as we are fond of Jesus, He tends to come at us out of nowhere with these insane requests. Why is it our responsibility to feed these people, Jesus? I mean, I think you need to realize that what you are asking is coming off as ridiculous.…
That’s pretty much where Phillip is coming from, in verse 7: “Philip replied, “Even if we worked for months, we wouldn’t have enough money to feed them!” Keep in mind, Jesus and the disciples are very much unemployed at the moment. Even coming up with a month’s wages isn’t something that’s going to happen here.
And here is where it gets holy.
In verse 3, we are told “Jesus climbed a hill and sat down with his disciples around him.” See any mention of anyone else present? Me neither. Just Jesus and his disciples. Ok.
In verse 9, Andrew speaks up. Another disciple watching the exchange between Jesus and Phillip. “There’s a young boy here with five barley loaves and two fish. But what good is that with this huge crowd?”
No, we didn’t miss the presence of the little boy earlier. He comes into this story out of nowhere. I suspect, the little boy is a very important character in this story. And if you blink, you miss him entirely.
We are never told who he is, or if he even offered his lunch to help Jesus and the disciples.
While Jesus is challenging the mindset of his very adult disciples, it is a nameless little boy that brings enough food to feed five thousand hungry people with the help of Jesus.
I admit. I see the state of world and think, how can I even make a dent in the suffering that surrounds me? I have four little kids that rely on me for everything. Some days I don’t even get enough time away to jump in the shower! It would take four years of Seminary study to even begin to address the plight of the world!
But there is this little girl, that appears out of nowhere, and she tells me, “you have this– and it feeds your own soul. Maybe if we give it to Jesus, He could feed a multitude.”
We are all little children. But sometimes we lose sight of the power our little inner child has in bringing forth what we have to offer Jesus and the world.