“Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish,
but how far will they go among so many?”
John 6:9 (NIV)
We may try and imagine the thoughts and motives of the little boy who took his lunch to the shore of the Sea of Galilee the day 5,000 people showed up to hear the amazing carpenter who turned preacher that day. The Bible does not tell us the child’s thoughts or reasons for joining the great crowd of adults to hear the famous Man teach, but it is clear he wanted to listen for a long time and so brought his lunch with him.
Little did the boy know the central part he would play in the amazing miracle Jesus would perform using the little fellow’s meal. Jesus was going to demonstrate to the great crowd that He was the Creator God when it came time for a meal to be prepared.
Two staple items in the diet of Galileans were fish and bread. The bag lunch carried by the child demonstrated he was poor. We are told his little loaves were made of barley and not wheat. Only the rich in Jesus time could afford the expensive wheat flour to do their baking.
So the boy’s meal was that of the poor and it was only enough for one child. Yet, the Master took that meal and used it to feed 5,000 people. Obviously the miracle was one of creation. Our Lord wanted the people to recognize Him as their Creator. The instrument He used was the humble insignificant lunch of the little boy.
What we learn from this story is how the Lord can use the common, even unnoticed people of this world to work His will and display His eternal glory. It is likely the boy came out of curiosity. That did not matter. He willingly gave up what he had and the Lord used it greatly that afternoon.
You and I can take heart from the story of the little boy and his small bit of food—so many of God’s people are of the opinion that they are of no use in the work of the Lord because they do not have much to offer.
God is not impressed by great talent or gift. What He is looking for is a willing heart. When Jesus saw the poor widow putting her last bit of money into the temple treasury (Luke 21:1-4) He said that she had given more that all of the rich people put together.
Never be down on yourself because you do not have a prominent gift or position in the work of the Lord. You are valued by the Lord on the basis of your submission and use of what you do have, not on what you might have been.
Be faithful with the small opportunity you have and the day may come when your little may be made much in the creative hands of the Lord. Every Christian knows of the great work of D. L. Moody but ask Christians who Edward Kimball was and you will only have a blank stare for an answer. That man was D. L. Moody’s Sunday School teacher. He had a burden for his scholar and so visited him at work and urged him to believe on the Lord Jesus. Moody did and the rest is history.
You may never be an earthshaking Christian as Moody was but you may be used to awaken such a person. Do not despise the day of small things my friend. In the grace of God your faithfulness in the little you have will be the means of great and eternal blessing.