John 6:7-9 (One Boy’s Lunch)

One boy's Lunch

Philip replied, “Even if we worked for months, we wouldn’t have enough money to feed them!” Then Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up. “There’s a young boy here with five barley loaves and two fish. But what good is that with this huge crowd?” (John 6:7-9)

Read: 2 Samuel 17:15 – 19:30, Psalm 3, Psalm 63

Relate: Five thousand men in the crowd. Women and children weren’t counted and so I’ve claims that the actual number of people to be around fifteen thousand but I think that is quite a bit of exaggeration. I have two reasons to think that: First, Jesus was considered a rabbi, a teacher. For a good Jewish family religion was specifically the domain of men. Yes, there were women who would follow him, but the proportion would have been strongly skewed toward the men. This is especially true when you remember that took a long hike into the middle of nowhere to get to him. Second, as long as that boy was 12 he was considered a man. Think again of the long distance these people took to get out there. Obviously there were kids, this young boy offering his lunch is proof of that, but again I think the number would have been skewed heavily in favor of the adult (including teenage) men. Seven to ten thousand is a much more accurate assessment in my opinion but, hey, you never know. For all we know, there might have been twenty thousand women following Jesus around everywhere He went. Poor guy.

Anyways, five thousand men plus women and children. How many of them do you think had lunches? Obviously, there was a severe shortage of food, otherwise Jesus and the disciples would not have been concerned. But am I really to believe that not one other person had any food? Not one other mother packed her kid a lunch? Not one man had something to eat with him? Not one family was lugging along a picnic basket? I don’t know about you but if I’m going more than a few hours without food it quickly becomes a very serious priority. I am not much of a planner but I always have my meals taken care of.

React: No matter how many other people brought food or didn’t bring food, only one boy was willing to share it. I honestly don’t think I would have. There’s thousands of people there. I probably would have brought enough for a few meals. But once that starts getting spread around it wouldn’t have gone far. If everyone’s getting hungry, I might not have even pulled it out. If I do then others might have wanted me to start sharing. So I would have been stuck with two options: I don’t get enough for myself, or I’m viewed as selfish and uncaring. If push comes to shove I will take option two, but it’s better to pretend I have to make a pit stop in the woods for a second and sneak a few bites while nobody’s looking.

Not this young boy. Maybe he heard and saw the disciples talking about lunch and offered his to share. Maybe he noticed Jesus didn’t seem to have a lunch pail and he was offering his lunch specifically to the Master. Maybe the disciples started asking around if anybody had food and he was too kindhearted, or even shy, to say no. Whatever the reason, this boy’s very small lunch (think two sardines and a few dinner rolls) ended up feeding the masses with tons left over. What is the little I have and how willing am I to share it with my world.


God, all that I have is Yours. When I look at what I have to offer compared to what this world needs the task looks impossible. In my hands it is. Through my own efforts it will never be enough. So I give what I have to offer to You. Take it. Break it. Spread it around. In Your hands my tiny little bit becomes more than enough. Use it. Use me. I am Yours.

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