A few weeks ago I was happily driving along the road when I felt God say to me, “Be careful who you give your bread to.” At first I had no idea what he was talking about, then the more I thought about it I realised God was talking the little boy who gave his loaves and fish to Jesus so he could feed the 5000 (John 6).
That day on the mountainside that little boy had to decide to whom he gave his loaves and fishes. If we see his sandwiches as representative of our gifts, talents, potential and influence we can look at the choices that were before him and what choices are before us. We need to be careful who we give our lunch to.
What were his options, and what are our options?
He could have kept his lunch to himself.
He was a hungry little boy and could’ve been of the opinion, ‘If no one else here was smart enought to bring their lunch then that’s their problem. I brought mine and I’m not going home hungry.’ This is very logical and who could blame him for taking this option.
We can keep our gifts to ourselves and save a lot of hassle by just living a happy life pleasing just ourselves.
He could’ve shared the food with a family close beside him.
This would’ve have been a very kind and admirable thing to do. He would have seen the size of the crowd and thought, ‘there’s no way I can feed all these people but my lunch will stretch to feed the people beside me.’ Feeding everyone was impossible but feeding his neighbours was possible. But the potential of his lunch would have been limited had he settled for doing something only he thought he could do.
We can look around and see the great need and the impossibilities and decide to share our talents in a way that doesn’t require any faith or belief in the supernatural. We can comfort ourselves with the fact that we have still shared what is in us but deep down we will know that we have limited our potential.
He could have given them to the disciples.
The disciples were an unbelieving bunch and when the boy came to them more than likely would have laughed because they didn’t understand they faith of the little boy. Indeed, they said to Jesus, “What are these among so many? (John 6:9)” It was obvious they didn’t see Jesus the way the little boy saw Jesus and they didn’t see the potential of the lunch the way the little boy saw his lunch. If this little boy had settled with the disciples, their unbelief would have seen the potential of those loaves and fish completely wasted.
We, too, can share our gift with the wrong person. That person maybe someone we see as close to Jesus but they don’t recognise our potential or they don’t have the faith to believe God to use our potential the way we do. Sometimes we need to face facts and realise that not everyone is going to get us – they are not going to see the full potential of what God has placed in us. We need to be so careful in this kind of situation because this is where we will be tempted to change ourselves in some way in order to fit in. We think that these people, who are close to Jesus, determine our destiny but we must not alter our shape in order to fit them. Like the little boy, if we hand our bread to them it will be wasted.
BUT – he gave his lunch to Jesus and I am so glad he did.
I can just imagine him looking around the crowd and thinking, ‘these people here are starving. I have so little here. But there is Jesus. I’ve heard that he has done some amazing things so maybe if I give him my lunch he might be able to do something with it.’
We can look around us and feel that what is within us is so inadequate. But then we can look at Jesus and surrender all that is within us to him. We can put our bread into the hands of someone who can do something with it. Jesus has the ability to multiply what you give him and satisfy the needs of the people around you.