The Boy with Five Small Barley Loaves and Two Small Fish Scriptures Reading Matt 14: 13-21, Mark 6: 30-44, Luke 9:10-17, John 6: 1-14, Mark 7:9-13 (This event was recorded in all four Gospels; however, only in the book of John the boy was mentioned. So, we can focus on John 6, but it will be good to cross reference to the other three Gospels to get a more thorough understanding.) Background This event happened at the other side of the Lake of Genesaret. Attracted by Jesus’ miracles, a great crowd followed Him around the north shore. The nearest town is Bethsaida. It would be difficult for the people to get bread, due to the distance and the lateness of the hour. Jesus assumed that He and His company would make provision. He counseled with Philip about ways and means, knowing in Himself what he would do, but desired to prove (test) the faith of His disciples. Philip, a native of Bethsaida, estimated that even two hundred denarii worth of bread would hardly be enough. Andrew stepped forward with information about a lad who carried five small barley loaves and two small fish. Jesus asked the crowd to be organized. Then, He took bread and fish, gave thanks and distributed to all who were there (more than 5000 people). Everybody was fed and still had twelve baskets of food left. Discussion Sharing brings out abundant blessings In both Matthew 14 and Luke 9, when Jesus told the disciples to give something to the crowd to eat, the disciples answered: “We have only five loaves of bread and two fish.” Here we see the disciples claiming the co- ownership of the food, aligning themselves with the boy as “we.” It implies that at that occasion, whatever food brought by whomever does not belong to that individual, the boy included, any more, but to the whole crowd present. When Lord Jesus was among them, healing their sick, leading them like a shepherd leading a flock, and filling their hearts with unproceeded compassion and love, how willing were they to share their personal belongings with others! Jesus’ working in the hearts of the people at that time gives us a glance of the kind of transformation we will experience when we dwell with the Lord in eternity—when God fills every void, what else is too precious for us to share or dispense? Nothing. Likewise what happened then should also reflect the spiritual condition we ought to have today if we are truly filled with the love of and for Christ. Despite the fact that the spirit of the crowd was much uplifted by Lord Jesus at that time, we cannot diminish the boy’s personal decision to give up his food and his spirit behind this action, simply because he was a child. I have known kids who take pleasure in handing out goodies because they love the friendship sharing brings them. However, try to ask them to share when they are really hungry and tired and yet only a small amount of food to that child’s fill is immediately available, just like the boy with five small loaves of bread and two small fish. You will find that it is not easy for a child to share when it takes their own same wants. Yet the boy with the loaves and fish was not selfish; he is willing to share with others. Because of his sharing, Jesus performed this miracle and feed more than 5000 people. How sharing brings out abundant blessings!! We often hear kids, especially among little kids, say: “This is mine”, or “This is all I have, how can I share?” We should all learn from this boy! It is only after we gave what we had then the blessings will come down and we can experience and know God more personally. (Mention some more examples if you could, e.g. Hudson Taylor’s story...) The boy put others’ needs before himself. 1 John 3:17 writes: “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?” Love is not by words but by action. If we see other people have need, not only that we comfort them with words, we should also do our best to help. So often the material things possess us and make us become a cold blood person. The boy in this event was sensitive to other people’s need and ready to provide for it. The boy didn’t care about his own fill, but put others’ need before himself. Are there times when mom or dad or our brothers and sisters need our help but we neglect them because “I am hungry, I need to eat first” “I will do it after, I ....” “I am tired”? Maybe next time, we need to be more sensitive and not value our own need so much. The boy knew that he himself would be hungry if he gave away the food, he still offer the food to Jesus. His behavior reminded me of the story about the widow’s offering recorded in both Luke 21 and Mark 12. There, we saw many rich people threw in large amount of money into the temple treasury as offerings, but a poor widow offered only two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. Although what she offered is very little in men’s eyes, Jesus knew better. He knew that widow “out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.” Didn’t we sometimes like those rich people and just give out of our wealth? We need to share what is in our possession and in our power to dispense, such as allowances for the chores we do at home or anything we received legitimately from parents. We cannot steal or fight to share for the sake of sharing. In Mark 7:9-13, Jesus condemned the Pharisees for disobeying God’s command by stealing their earthly responsibilities toward their parents and offering them to God. If we co-own some possession, we need to share or offer it with mutual consent, lest any sharing or offering will cause disharmony. After all how can God take pleasure in offerings made without joy and faith? When the disciples tried to bring the loaves and fish to Jesus, the boy must have wondered: how can this little feed the whole crowd here? The story shows that even though what we had is very little, if we offer it to the Lord, the Lord can use it to bring out abundant blessings. Sharing is not limited to material possessions; it can also mean gifts, talents, ideas, and wisdom God has blessed us with (as everything good and worth sharing is from God). We may not be very gifted, but if we faithfully express the gift we have, the Lord will be pleased and people will gain blessings through us. So don’t look down on ourselves. As long as we are willing, the Lord can use us as His instrument (just like Jesus used the boy to perform the miracle). It is never too young to follow the Lord, even all by yourself The Bible mentions the boy with five loaves of bread and two fish but not his parents. Maybe his parents happened to be too busy with their livelihood to follow Jesus that day, but they were caring enough that they provided the boy with a lunch basket. Maybe the boy had uncaring and ungodly parents or even he was an orphan, so that young as he was, he had learned to take care of himself and brought himself food when he knew following Jesus might take a long time. In any case, the boy must have taken upon himself to follow Jesus, prepared for the journey, endured the hardship (for a pair of young feet), and become the instrument for Jesus’ multiplication. The boy’s example clearly teaches us that it is never too young to follow the Lord, even all by yourself. God must have loved the boy’s determination to follow Jesus Christ. Otherwise the Bible would not have singled him out from a multitude of 5000 men besides women and children. His name is not important (not recorded) because you or any child can make the decision he made and be used by God as he was. Memory Verses “If anyone has material possessions and see his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words and tongue but with actions and in truth.” (1 John 3: 17,18) For kindergarten class, please memorize the Scriptures underlined. Craft Idea: Paper Bag Picnic Basket Materials: White craft glue Paper Plate Markers Child Safety Scissors Large brown paper bag Grocery advertisements (delivered every Tuesday in my neighborhood) Procedure: Use scissors to cut off top half of the paper bag. Fold over rim of the bag. Cut a handle from the top half, then glue it onto sides of the rim to make a basket. Decorate the basket with markers. Use the scissors to cut pictures of food from ads. Glue food pictures onto the paper plate. Place plate in the basket for a picnic. Cut five loaves of bread and two fish from pattern and place them in the basket. More ideas: Use scissors to cut fringes around the edges of a large sheet of paper. Color paper with markers for a picnic blanket (don't forget to draw the ants!). Use scissors to cut flowers, bugs, or designs out of construction paper. Glue onto sides of basket. Talk about your favorite foods to pack in a picnic basket. Describe how they taste: sweet, salty, sour, spicy. Craft idea electronic version from http://www.earlychildhood.com/Crafts/index.cfm?FuseAction=Craft&C=4 Reprinted with permission from The Little Hands Art Book, Judy Press, 1994, Williamson Publishing Co., Charlotte, Vermont 05445. Slightly modified for this Friday material. Fish and bread pattern from http://www.dltk-bible.com/animals/fish.htm Coloring Page From: http://www.emmanuel.kiev.ua/Kids/site1_cmE.html Music Sing the following to the tune of B-I-N-G-O. There was a man who was God’s Son There was a man who fed 5,000, And Jesus was His name-o. And Jesus was His name-o. J-E-S-U-S, J-E-S-U-S, J-E-S-U-S J-E-S-U-S, J-E-S-U-S, J-E-S-U-S And Jesus was His name-o. And Jesus was caring.