“Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish,
but how far will they go among so many?”
My wife is out of town on one of her regular overnight visits to our daughter and 18 month old son. Sometimes I go but this time I had to stay home. As I ate my supper alone I leafed through a booklet sent by a European humanitarian mission that I serve as a Canadian board member.
Various projects were written about, complete with fascinating photos of needy people being helped through the mission. One article said that if I sent $20.00 I could buy a new pair of shoes for a shoeless child to wear in the winter.
Today at the diabetic clinic I was told by the doctor that I needed new shoes worth over 10 times the cost of a pair for a child in Russia. He told me I needed orthotics as well and that would skyrocket the cost. I never doubted I would find a way to afford the medical supplies and stave off the progress of the diabetes.
Then I flipped the page and saw that I could buy a box of food to feed a family for a month and it would only cost me $30.00. Coming home from the clinic I stopped to buy a few groceries for my wife and myself and spent over $90.00 without thinking about the expense. I usually spend more than that for one week’s food for the two of us.
Next I saw that for $70.00 I could buy enough firewood to keep a family warm for a month during their harsh winter season. While I was out today the gas fireplace repairman called my cell phone to say he was having trouble finding the necessary part to fix my fireplace. We may have to buy a new one! That will be a four figure amount if we go ahead with it. We will do well if we only pay $70.00 for the needed part plus labour.
In the story of the feeding of the 5,000 (John 6:1-13) from which we get our verse today, Jesus poses a tough question to the disciples. He asks them where they will find the food to feed all of the people. This story is the only miracle story in all four Gospels apart from Jesus’ resurrection. It clearly was a very spectacular miracle that Jesus did to have all of them have the urge to record it.
One of the disciples offered to Jesus the small bag lunch of a little boy and spoke the words of our verse. Clearly the disciples were at a complete loss as to how to feed the people. Jesus then took the bag lunch, gave thanks for it and performed a miracle of creation.
This issue of Jesus creating matter puts the miracle into a special category. Usually Jesus works with pre-existing matter such as a withered hand, or eyes that are blind. He wants to make the disciples understand that He is the Creator God and not simply a rabbi or teacher.
My supper-time experience today made me think of this amazing story of Jesus being so powerful. As I read the little booklet I thought that supplying a family in Europe with food for a month for only $30.00 was a kind of miracle. We can’t call matter into existence as Jesus did, but we may do amazing things with a few dollars to help the hurting in another country.
In the midst of your suffering God may be calling on you to perform a miracle for a person or family you will never meet in this life. Certainly you will be blessed and encouraged as you seek to look past your present situation to the suffering of others and do something to help them. Do you know what in the world is going on?