Sweetwater Presbyterian

Small in size, Big in Faith and Love

The Boy Who Provided Loaves and Fishes

The Boy Who Provided the Loaves and Fishes

I know you have heard the phrase, “Good things come in small packages”. Often used when at Christmas one child has received a present in a great big box and another child has received a present in a very small box and the second child somehow feels like their gift is much less important than the bigger gift. Often the small gift costs much more than the larger one but there is just this perception that the bigger something is the better.
Often people of smaller stature feel the same way - they aren’t as good as those people who are taller. But you know just because you may be a shorter person and you can’t play basketball, shorter people make much better soccer players. We could think of whole bunches of examples of short things or small things or things of lesser number which are far better than their larger counterparts. And when you read the Bible, it is pretty common that the smaller, shorter, less than, younger ones are the ones who are the Superheroes in a given situation.
We continue to look at superheroes of the Bible - and we are concentrating now on those superheroes who remind us that being small, or young, or less than, doesn’t mean that you can’t do great great superhero feats for God!
Today we are going to talk about the little boy who brought his loaves and fishes to Jesus who then took what the boy had offered and was able to feed well over 5000 people. This little boy is one of the superheroes our VBS will be looking at to help show our children that children can be great contributors to the work of God regardless of their age or their size.
But before we talk about the boy and his lunch, I want us to think about another little boy who did a great work. David was a young boy between 12 and 15 when his father asked him to take food to his brothers who were serving in the army. Kind of made me think about our soldier care packages! David went to where his brothers were stationed and delivered the package of goodies from his father.
While he was there, he learned about Goliath. Seemed that the soldiers had been stationed on top of a mountain and perched on the other mountain was the army of the Philistines. Now the Philistines had challenged the army of Israel to a one on one contest. One soldier from each army would meet on the plain between the two armies and would fight it out and the one who survived would be the winning army. The two armies agreed and the Philistine army sent out their one soldier who happened to be the 9 ft tall and very mean Goliath.
When the Israeli army saw Goliath, they could not find any soldier who was willing to go and fight Goliath even though they were the army of God and God had guaranteed he would help whoever when to fight the giant. So every day Goliath would come out onto the plain and taunt the army of God and wait for someone to come and fight him and no one would. That is until David shows up to deliver food to his brothers.
Now, not only was David very young, but David was also small in stature. He was truly a little boy. He’s up there on the mountain when Goliath comes out for his daily challenge and David is amazed that no one will go fight. So he says to the King, if none of these grown men, professional soldiers, are willing to go fight this giant, I will. Of course everyone thought he was joking or crazy or both, but he was serious and David follows up on his offer even though everyone thought he was being suicidal. He prayed, he got 5 small stones and he went out and killed Goliath. This little boy, the small one that no one thought could do

anything, accomplished what the older and bigger and more skilled people were not able to do.
Let’s jump up several thousand years. Jesus is traveling around Galilee teaching and preaching and healing. Great huge crowds are following him as he goes from place to place. Traveling with Jesus are his disciples. A group of young men whom Jesus is trying to train to take over for him when he ascends to heaven. He has shown them great miracles and told them over and over again that they were capable of doing great things. In fact at one point Jesus sent them out on their own to teach and heal and they came back all excited because they were able to do what Jesus knew they could do. They had great success in teaching the things of Jesus and even being able to heal people.
As today’s story opens, we have Jesus and his disciples - who remember know what they are capable of doing - being followed by a large crowd of people when Jesus goes to a hillside and begins to teach and the people are so enthralled by what Jesus is saying they don’t realize how late it has become and Jesus and his disciples know that these people have been here all day and they need to eat. Jesus looks at the disciples and says, “You feed them”. And the disciples get hysterical. How can we feed all these people, we have no money, there are no stores nearby, we can’t do it Jesus. Lets just send them home! Jesus is pretty disappointed in his disciples because Jesus knows what they are capable of and the disciples never even consider the idea of God helping them provide for these people.
Meanwhile the disciple Andrew is wandering around the crowds perhaps asking if anyone has any food to share when a small young boy offers his food. I don’t know any of the particulars, but what I do know is that this young boy is willing to give this small pittance to Jesus with the confidence that Jesus will be able to do something with these small loaves and fish. Now historians agree that since it was the food of a small boy we are talking small loaves like the size of a dinner roll and fish about the size of anchovies. Everything about this story is small - the boy is small, the food is small, and the disciples faith is small. Jesus takes this small offering, blesses it and begins to break off pieces of the bread and the fish and give it to the disciples who distributed it to the crowds who all ate their fill and then when the disciples went back to clean up there were 12 basketfuls of bread and fish left over.
Good things come in small packages and in these stories it is good things come in the form of small children. There is David, a small child who was willing to do what grown, professional men were not willing to do. There is the boy with the loaves and fishes who was willing to trust that Jesus could do something with this food when the older, more experienced, supposedly trained by Jesus men didn’t even think of trying anything.
We have to remember that everyone is valuable to God. It doesn’t matter the age or the size. As an older person - you are capable of doing much more than you think you can. Young ones, you are capable of doing much more than you think you can. And to the rest of us, we can’t ever assume that someone is not capable of doing something because of their age or their size.
In Acts we read: “‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young will see visions, your old will dream dreams. In other words, God’s work will be done by old and young alike and all will be a useful, helpful, important part of the Kingdom of God.
We need to remember in God’s eyes, it is not the size or the age or even the ability, it is the willingness to step out in faith and do what God is calling us to do. Amen!