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?”
“Tell everyone to sit down,” Jesus said. So they all sat down on the grassy slopes. (The men alone numbered about 5,000.) Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks to God, and distributed them to the people. Afterward he did the same with the fish. And they all ate as much as they wanted.
I can only imagine the scene. A massive crowd has followed Jesus, amazed at his teaching, miracles, healing and charisma. He had just crossed the Sea of Galilee, but somehow they managed to find him. There were 5,000 men—who knows how large the entire crowd was (including women and children)!
Jesus turned to Philip and asked where they could buy some bread. Perhaps he had a smile on his face. We assume Jesus was always so serious, but maybe he was overjoyed at what was he was about to show them—like a father who is about to present a birthday gift to his son. Philip was shocked, arguing that a year’s wages wouldn’t be enough to feed them. I wonder if Jesus was holding back laughter while Philip complained.
I’ve spoken to a few large crowds before—about 1,000 or so students. I can only imagine what my teammates would do if I leaned over and said, “Go to Jollybee and buy a two piece chickenjoy for everyone here.”
Jesus was presented with a humble meal—five barely loaves and two fish. This was a common meal in Palestine, similar to our “turo-turo” meal. He took this meal and did something completely amazing with it: He performed one of the most well-know miracles of the Bible.
What do you have?
Keep in mind that Jesus didn’t have to use these loaves and fish. He had the power to turn stones into bread (otherwise Satan’s temptation would have been pointless). Regardless of this power, he chose to use what was presented to him.
What was the point to Jesus’ choice? I can think of at least one: We tend to obsess over what we don’t have, but God is interested in using what we do have.
I wish I had a solo quality singing voice. I don’t—my singing sounds more like that drunk guy who refuses to release the karaoke microphone. God didn’t put me hear to sing. He has, however, asked me to surrender my existing talents to Him. Like the poor boy’s meal, he has used my humble gifts in ways that I never would have imagined.
You may wish that you were taller, richer, more attractive, more talented, etc. My question to you is this: have you given your existing gifts/talents to God? God will never ask you for a steak if all you have is a turo-turo meal. He will ask you to surrender those gifts you already have and use them for His glory. You never know—He may use your gifts in ways that you never dreamed of.
“Your best shot at making your greatest contribution in the world is for you to get better at what you are already good at.”
-Reggie McNeal, Practicing Greatness: 7 Disciplines of Extraordinary Spiritual Leaders
*For those who are not familiar with Filipino culture, “turo-turo” is a slang term coming from the Tagalog verb “to point.” It refers to the thousands of little canteens where you can buy a cheap meal after pointing to your preferred dish. Despite their humble nature, some of the best food in the Philippines can be found at the turo-turo.
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