Here's To The Girl Who Doesn't Feel Worthy
In John 6, we read about Jesus feeding the five thousand. It goes something like this: a great crowd came upon Jesus and He asked His disciples, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” I imagine they all looked at each other, at the massive crowd approaching, and then back to Jesus. I can almost picture their wide eyes and questioning looks as they, as we humans so easily do, seemed to forget that they were walking with Jesus, the all-powerful, miracle-maker Son of God. I bet they wondered how in the world they were possibly going to find enough food to fill all the stomachs around them. Then one of the disciples finally spoke up, perhaps hesitantly, and said, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”
Most of us know how the story ends. Jesus takes the bread and fish. He breaks them. They are multiplied and distributed to the people. Everyone was filled, and there were even leftovers to spare. It is one of the great miracles of Jesus that is captured in all four of the gospels. It is one we read and sit in awe of His ability to make something out of what seems to be nothing. It is one that might even make us wonder about the miracles Jesus could perform in our present day.
Until recently, I have only ever really noticed the disciples and Jesus as main characters in this story. I can so easily point to the disciples’ forgetfulness and see myself. Then, thankfully, I can point to Jesus to find the grace and see the miracle occur despite our human nature. However, when this story was recapped to me by a mentor the other day, she opened my eyes to a character I had been overlooking, a character I think we are all called to be in our own lives—the boy who brought the bread and fish.
“Here is a boy” is all that is said. We don’t know his name. We have no description of his appearance. His story is a mystery. All we know about this nameless, faceless, seemingly storyless boy is that he is the one who brought the bread and fish that Jesus used to feed the 5,000. All we know is that at some point in the midst of the crowd approaching, Jesus’s beckoning, and the disciples’ questioning, this boy looked at the bread and fish he held in his hands and decided to give it all away.
I can’t help but wonder what he was thinking in the moments before he walked up to the disciple and gave what little he had. Did he see the fullness of the crowd and wonder what good his little could do? Did he feel as though what he had wasn’t enough? Was he scared to be left with nothing? I know that is what I think on the days I look at my hands and only see gaps. That is what I think on the days I worry that I have so little to give, that to give it away would mean to be left with nothing at all. I think I am often too scared to even try to be the boy with the bread and fish.
Because sometimes, when I realize how much we are all so like the disciples in this story, it seems like a miracle that Jesus would even invite us to be apart of His miracles at all. We fear failure. We are skeptics. We get it in our heads that if we cannot feed the 5,000 ourselves then it cannot happen. We get wrapped up in our inability to do more that we forget that our less still matters. We forget who does the breaking. We forget who does the multiplying. We forget that if we just bring what we have, Jesus will take care of the rest.
Think about the beauty of it all—our God is one who wants to do immeasurably more with our lives than we can ever imagine. He wants all of us, whatever we have to give, in order to make it into something that not only fills and satisfies us, but also feeds the people around us. I think about the crowd that day, and what it must have been like to eat and eat and eat until they couldn’t eat any more. Then to realize that they were filled by one boy’s small contribution to the table, a bit of barley loaves and two small fish. Some of us have less than that. Some of us have more. But oh think of the feast that we could prepare for the world if we all brought what we have to give to the table!
Maybe when faced with the choice to give what you have, your thoughts tend to sound a lot like mine; more fearful than faithful, more full of worry than assurance. So I ask, do you believe that He is inviting you into His miracles even today? What are the areas in your life that you feel as though though your little is worth nothing? Where do you fear giving like the boy with the fish and bread? What little are you holding onto in fear of being left with nothing? What would it look like to instead trust that He wants it all, to give what you have, and believe that He will take it and do the immeasurably more you cannot even fathom?
It takes faith. It takes action. It takes trust. But there could be 5,000 people filled as a result of what you hand over to Jesus to multiply today. Or even if just one person needs and is filled by what only you can bring. Verse 9 of John 6 says. “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish.” What if we took away what he brought, put a blank line in it’s place, and then filled that line in with whatever we have to give? You may have given Jesus your life, but not your job or your passions or your dreams or your money. Or maybe you haven’t given Jesus anything, to which I would say give Him all those things and your life. He wants it all, every part of who we are and what we do could be apart of the miracles He is seeking to work in this world today. Give what you have, let it be broken and multiplied.
We’ll never know what the boy was thinking that day he gave the bread and the fish. We’ll never know his name or what he looked like, and honestly none of that really matters. The Word tells us what we need to know—the boy gave what he had. That became his story, and I so desperately want that to be my story too. I want that to be all of our stories.
There is a prayer I’ve been stealing lately, one that I hope you will steal too.
It says this, “Lord, sometimes I don’t even feel worthy to be the boy who brought the bread, but I pray that you would break me and what I have anyways, and give it all away to those who need me. Take what little I have and multiply it. Do the immeasurably more that only you can do. Amen.”
Jacqueline // @jacquelinewinstead