The boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish

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					             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.)


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.


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

 White craft glue
 Paper Plate
 Markers
 Child Safety Scissors
 Large brown paper bag
 Grocery advertisements (delivered every Tuesday in my neighborhood)

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
 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
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
 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
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
Coloring Page



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.

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