” . . . five loaves of barley bread . . . “

“There is a boy here who has five loaves of barley bread and two fish. But they will certainly not be enough for all these people.”  (John 6:9)

Recently I went to visit one of our church’s shut-ins.  As I got out of my car I noticed this beautiful crystal palace in one of the shrubs next to their house.  A light rain had turned the spider’s web into a spectacular, delicate work of art.

The spider was simply going about his daily business, using God’s gift of web spinning to construct a trap for his unsuspecting dinner guests.  When God added a little rain to the mix – Voila! – a miracle of wonder was produced that I had the sacred privilege to view.  What a blessing to my day!

For some reason this crystal palace got me to wondering about the little boy in the story when Jesus feeds thousands of people from the Gospel of John.  I wonder what happened to the little boy?  Although the same story is recorded in all four gospels, only the Gospel of John mentions that a little boy was the one who provided the five loaves and two fish, and even then only in the one verse.  Ever wonder about the boy?

Maybe he had the day to play with his friends, so his mother packed him a lunch and gave a more ancient version of those familiar words many of us remember, “You know your boundaries.  Stay within them or I’ll know, and be back before the streetlights come on.”  (I doubt that happens much today.)  Maybe he was on an errand, possibly delivering lunch to his father who might have been working nearby, but was distracted by the large crowd.  Uh – oh what might have happened that evening when his father returned home from work that evening, grumpy and grouchy for lack of food?  What happened to the boy after he became the bearer of the gift that Jesus used to bless thousands?

I’ll tell you what happened – he was changed forever.  If he was out for a play day he didn’t wait for the streetlights to come on before racing back home.  If he had given his father’s lunch away he didn’t worry for a moment about the trouble he might be in when his father got home.  Either way, he raced back home and breathlessly shouted to his mother, “Mom, mom, you’ll never guess what happened.  This guy named Jesus used my bread and fish to feed thousands of people!”  Wow, would I ever have like to have been a fly on that wall!

“This Jesus used my bread . . . ”  I really think that’s what he might have said, ” . . . my bread . . . ”  The little boy would have been amazed by what he saw Jesus do, but thrilled that Jesus had used his bread and fish, thus making the boy part of a miracle and changing his life forever.  Even as an old man, I’m sure this boy would have been sharing the same story, “Jesus used my bread and fish to feed thousands.  What a miracle of God, and I got to be part of it.”  That’s the same sacred privilege you and I get to be part of today.  When we offer our gifts for the service of God, we get to stand back and watch how God can use them to bless thousands, and we get to be the ones who excitedly and breathlessly share, ” . . . and God used my bread . . . “

I pray that God will continue to allow me the privilege of offering gifts that will be transformed into blessings for many, so lives can be changed, and the little boy in me can say, “Wow, and God used my gifts . . . ”  How about you?

Blessings and Peace,


Pastor, Cross Lanes United Methodist Church

Cross Lanes, West Virginia

Help save lives! For more information on my book, “A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression,” visit

My other book, “Wednesday Wonderings: Spiritual Journaling Through a Lens” is available at and

Check out my video, “Teens Surviving the Storm”


~ by revgenelson on October 28, 2015.

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