As I was re-reading John 6, the account of Jesus feeding the thousands, something occurred to me that I’d never considered before. I have read or heard this story hundreds of times in my forty years, but I’ve never given a thought to one of the key players.
Here’s the gist of the story:
Jesus had been teaching a blue million people. Actually, there was a confirmed estimate of 5,000 men. (Women and children didn’t merit a tally in those days, but that had nothing to do with Jesus. Don’t worry. One of His divine appointments was to shake things up a little bit in this area. But that’s another story.) Back to the re-cap…
Five thousand men, plus women and children. That’s a lot of people.
Jesus wanted to feed them. One of His disciples, Philip, was skeptical. He told Jesus that it would take eight months’ wages to buy enough bread for everyone to have a single bite.
Andrew, more optimistic than Phillip, pointed out a little boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish. As soon as he brought this option to Jesus’s attention, though, he recanted a little bit by saying, “But, seriously, how far would this one lunch go among so many?”
Jesus asks that the people be seated, grabbed the little guy’s brown bag, thanked God for the bounty of food and started passing out free lunches to everyone in the crowd. That’s pretty amazing.
I can just picture the face on the little boy. I’m pretty sure I know the expression. I’ve got a little boy myself (though he’s not as little as he used to be). Little boys are masters of expression. They can show such pleasure and pride and sense of purpose in their young faces. I am certain that this little boy felt pretty honored that Jesus wanted his lunch, and I can only imagine how proud he was when he saw Jesus and the disciples passing around his momma’s home cookin’.
That’s who I thought about today. I wonder why, among this slew of people, in the middle of the day, far from town, there was mention of only one little boy having a lunch. Were the other mothers just that unprepared? Did the other moms underestimate how long their children would be gone that day? In the midst of their many household responsibilities, did these moms even know where their children were? Maybe more mothers had packed lunches, but this little guy is the one who caught Andrew’s eye first. I really don’t know.
I bet I do know how that momma felt when her young son recounted the story to her that evening. I bet she felt honored, too. I bet she was so glad that she had listened to that little nudge and packed her boy a lunch. She was faithful in preparing her son for whatever the life had in store for him that day. By her faithfulness, her son was remembered for thousands of years, her community was blessed and Jesus moved.
Jesus took one woman’s willingness to provide for her family and turned it into a lasting account of His own provision. He took what might seem insignificant and made it miraculous. He took a lunch and left a legacy.
That’s what I want to do today. That’s what I want to do every day. I want to leave a legacy of the abundant love of Jesus Christ while I’m fixing lunches and folding clothes and grading math worksheets and feeding chickens. I want to obey the nudges, tune out the distractions and be Jesus to my children even more than I want to be Jesus to anyone else. These precious kids are the single most important part of the legacy Christ is leaving through me. The other things are there, and they have significance, but mothering is my greatest assignment.
Lord, please find me faithful.