Scripture: John 6:1-15
Key verse: (9) “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But what are they among so many people?”
Reflection: The feeding of the 5,000 is the only miracle story, besides the resurrection, that is included in every one of the four gospels. That means it must be an important story! This story was told over and over again, passed down among faithful people as a testimony to the power of God at work in Jesus Christ with the disciples. Each gospel has slight variations in telling the story. Today we read John’s version which is the only gospel to include the character of the boy who brought the loaves and the fish.
Imagine that boy, carrying five loaves and two fish with him in the midst of a huge crowd of people, growing hungrier by the minute. Five loaves and two fish was too much for one person but not nearly enough for five thousand. If you were that boy, what would you have done? Perhaps you would hide the loaves and fish, looking around anxiously at the crowd of people. Perhaps you would have been afraid that your food would be stolen by a hungry mob and you would be left hungry. Or perhaps you would have been afraid to share because your meager offering would be ridiculed for being so small.
I believe fear is the enemy of love. How can we trust that, if we share what we have, we will still have enough for what we need? For those of us who have more than we need (like this boy with more than enough food for one person), how can we share in a world where so many people are starving around us? That is the call of love. How can we risk offering what we have, even when we know it won’t be enough to solve the problem? How can we face our fear of ridicule in the midst of overwhelming needs? That is the call of love. Love is offering what we have, no matter how insignificant it may appear, trusting that God will provide and will use our offering for abundant good.
Prayer: Loving God, so often I am controlled by fear. I hold tightly to what I have. I claim that it belongs to me rather than to you. I am overwhelmed and afraid that my gifts are too small. Free me from fear. Enable me to love – to trust, to risk, to give – as a follower of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Author: Millie Snyder
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].