Fishes and loaves

Almost every day for lunch, I eat a Lean Cuisine meal. (Lean Cuisine, feel free to sponsor me.) Not because I’m trying to lose weight, even though I should. But because it tastes good, it’s cheap and I hate going out for lunch.

Lunch is a necessary evil for me. I know I need to eat it, so I heat something up, sit at my desk, and work through lunch.

The portions are sometimes just right, sometimes too small (Depending on how hungry I am). But I couldn’t image feeding more than one person with a lean cuisine meal.

In fact, some days when I’m super hungry, I heat up two meals and put them all in one bowl. (There goes my endorsement deal.)

In John 6:1-13, Jesus asked his disciples where they could buy bread to feed all the people who had followed Him up to the mountainside.

Phillip echoed what I would be thinking, “we can’t afford to feed all these people.”

The Bible says that Jesus “asked him this only to test him, for He already had in mind what He was going to do” (John 6:6 NIV).

Then Andrew, who is slightly more optimistic, says that there’s a boy who has five small barley loaves and two fish. It’s better than nothing. Maybe we can feed a few people, certainly not everyone.

Then Jesus does something. Well, not just something. He does the miraculous and somehow what that little boy had becomes enough.

In fact, it becomes more than enough. John 6:13 says they “filled twelve baskets with the pieces of five barley loves left over by those who had eaten” (NIV).

This story is incredible for many reasons, but there’s one detail I don’t want you to miss. That boy had very little to offer. But when Jesus took it, it had a greater impact that anything he could have done with on his own.

So many times we think we need a grand gesture to have an impact other people’s lives. But many times, it’s something as small as the contents of a young boy’s lunch.

A balloon and a small pan of brownies for a neighbor’s birthday. Coffee cake from a store bought mix served at a student Bible study. An extra plate at the dinner table for an unexpected guest. An encouraging sentence in an email. a compliment about one of my kids. A helpful person in customer service.

None of those things seem like a big deal. But in God’s hands, they become something more.

They can remind a person someone cares. That they aren’t forgotten. That they will be taken care of. That God will provide.

We offer so little. But God takes it and does something big.

Don’t be afraid to hand it over. Or bake that mix. Or type that extra sentence.

God may have big plans for it. Much bigger than what it seems.

Tim Walker

— by Tim Walker

Walker is a husband/father/writer who is navigating faith, marriage, parenthood and mid-life. Follow his blog at

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