Today I was listening to K-Love radio and they were talking about a little boy and his lunch. You know the one - he gave his lunch to feed the multitudes. We all know the part about how Jesus took the 5 loaves and 2 fish and fed the 5000...but what about that little boy? What would this story look like from the boy's point of view?
Now anyone who has boys in their home knows that they can eat - a LOT! Convincing a boy to give up his lunch is pretty impressive. I had to wonder, what was going through that young man's mind when the disciples came and asked for his food. Did he deny he had any? Was he tempted to say no? Was he excited to share?
Here is the account from the book of Mark, chapter 6:
The apostles then rendezvoused with Jesus and reported on all that they had done and taught. Jesus said, "Come off by yourselves; let's take a break and get a little rest." For there was constant coming and going. They didn't even have time to eat.
32-34So they got in the boat and went off to a remote place by themselves. Someone saw them going and the word got around. From the surrounding towns people went out on foot, running, and got there ahead of them. When Jesus arrived, he saw this huge crowd. At the sight of them, his heart broke—like sheep with no shepherd they were. He went right to work teaching them.
35-36When his disciples thought this had gone on long enough—it was now quite late in the day—they interrupted: "We are a long way out in the country, and it's very late. Pronounce a benediction and send these folks off so they can get some supper."
37Jesus said, "You do it. Fix supper for them."
They replied, "Are you serious? You want us to go spend a fortune on food for their supper?"
38But he was quite serious. "How many loaves of bread do you have? Take an inventory."
That didn't take long. "Five," they said, "plus two fish."
39-44Jesus got them all to sit down in groups of fifty or a hundred—they looked like a patchwork quilt of wildflowers spread out on the green grass! He took the five loaves and two fish, lifted his face to heaven in prayer, blessed, broke, and gave the bread to the disciples, and the disciples in turn gave it to the people. He did the same with the fish. They all ate their fill. The disciples gathered twelve baskets of leftovers. More than five thousand were at the supper.
Now imagine that young man - surrounded by over 5000 people and he's the only one with lunch. What would have happened if he'd decided to eat that lunch instead of sharing? But he didn't - he gave.
That had to have been hard on him, not knowing what he'd do now that he'd given his food away. I have always imagined that he wasn't really that well off and the food he had might have been a stretch for his mom to prepare. It probably was about the size of 5 little rolls and 2 small bream, not much bigger than sardines. He'd probably been looking forward to it all day...and now someone asked him to trust them and hand it over. I know I look forward to my lunch all day - if someone asked me to give it up I'm not sure I would do so without being one really cranky person! Still, somehow this boy looked beyond his own desires and he shared.
Then came the miracle - 5000 were fed and there were 12 baskets of leftovers! Can you imagine the look on his mom's face when that boy brought home that much food? We aren't told that he took all the leftovers, but it just seems like something God would do. I bet those leftovers didn't even go bad and lasted for weeks! I know, none of that is in the story...but I have a very vivid imagination.
I feel like that boy sometimes. I feel like I have so little, and I then I hear God ask me to give. A big part of me wants to consume it myself or share only with my family. I want to hoard what little I have in fear that I won't have enough...yet God calls me to open my hand and share, trusting that He will take care of the rest. (That's about the time when an extra bill or two rolls in, by the way.)
I have heard it said that giving is planting a seed and any good farmer knows, you don't eat your seed - not if you want a harvest to come. I am not one of those "name it and claim it" kind of people and even talking about giving makes me a bit uncomfortable. Yet I can't seem to get away from this word right now. God is asking us to sacrifice and trust that He can take our little and make it much for the kingdom of God...and I have to believe that means we'll have plenty "left over" for what we need.
You know, leftovers never looked so good to me. Now to work on the courage to open my hand and just give.