“What do you have in your hands?”, Andrew asked the young boy. “Five loaves and two fish, Sir. My mum packed this for my dinner when I left home this morning,” the boy replied. “Would you like to give these to Jesus?”
I imagined this conversation took place between the apostle Andrew and the young boy. The crowd had swelled to more than five thousand. They came to this side of the Sea of Galilee to see and hear Jesus. And when it was getting late, Jesus instructed His disciples to find food to feed them. From the account given in John 6:1-14, we know that an unnamed boy presented his little dinner box to Jesus. That offering was received by Jesus, who then gave thanks and distributed the food to feed the hungry crowd. The result was amazing. Those present ate to their fill and there were twelve baskets left over.
The young boy could have held tightly to what he had brought from home. It was a small meal box after all, containing five barley biscuits and two sardines – just enough for a little boy. Indeed, it was a village boy’s simple dinner.
He could have reasoned to himself: “My mum had specially prepared this for me! If I hand this box over, there would be nothing left for me!” But he didn’t. He offered what he had to Jesus.
The young boy could also have wondered how his humble offering could have made any difference. But it didn’t matter to him. Jesus had asked if there was food and this boy who was there to witness what Jesus was teaching and doing was very willing to offer what he had. In fact, it was Andrew who raised that question to Jesus: “but what are they for so many?” (John 6:8). Five loaves, two fish – these would be obviously insufficient to meet the overwhelming needs!
This account has much to teach us about stewardship. What we do with that which is in our hands will reveal whether we consider ourselves as entitled owners or faithful stewards.
We can regard what we have as our entitlement – “These are my assets, my abilities, my valued experiences, my time.” If this is our perspective, we would then unsurprisingly want to hold these tightly, lest “there would be nothing left for me!” Or, we can also regard what we have as grossly insufficient or inadequate. Indeed, when we measure against the overwhelming needs around, this would appear to be so. But that which was offered and placed in the hands of Jesus, resulted in the multitude being fed. What we have may appear small or insignificant. But it does not mean that God cannot use it. God can and will make your gift significant. This is a spiritual principle we need to learn.
Note that Jesus did not call down manna from heaven to feed the multitude. That would have been a quick solution. But, instead, He instructed the disciples to find food. And what was found was of very humble proportions – a small boy with a small meal box. Only five loaves and two fish. But in the hands of the Lord, the multitude was fed and the boy had the joy of witnessing how his offering became a blessing to many.
So, what do you have in your hands?
“Nothing much, really. I have insufficient resources, insufficient gifts, insufficient time …”
But Jesus did not ask for what you do not have. He is asking what’s placed in our hands. Note that in John’s account, Philip was doing his mathematics and expressing his frustration that 200 denarii (equivalent to 200 days’ wages of a worker) would still be insufficient (John 6:7). The point of this miracle of Jesus feeding the five thousand is that our ridiculously insufficient resources become sufficient when we put them in the Lord’s hands. The Lord does not use what you do not have. He places the gifts and resources in your hands and will use what you offer to Him which will become a blessing to many in His hands.
By David LT Yap, Advisory Pastor & Elder (YCKC Bulletin 20&21 September 2014)