Posted by: Jo | September 16, 2011

One Small Lunch

“…Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?”– John 6:5

imageI am always fascinated by the small details that we can often find in Scripture. The feeding of the 5,000 (John 6:1 – 15) is a very familiar story and the only one of Jesus‘ miracles to be found in all four gospels and yet only in the gospel of John do we find a mention of a boy and his lunch. Who was this little boy? Was he by himself? Was he the only one who brought a lunch with him on that day, perhaps packed by his loving mother? We know he probably came from a poor family as barley loaves and dried fish were the food of the poor, but why is he mentioned and why does Jesus choose this boy to perform his most well known miracle?

imageI would like to believe it is a powerful message to us all. When that lunch was stowed away in the folds of that little boy’s flowing garments, nobody could have believed that its contents of loaves and fishes, would be a symbol for continuing generations of believers. Imagine the little boy watching as the disciples went through the crowd asking if anybody had brought food with him. Did he furtively pat his little lunch and think this is not worth mentioning? Or did he feel the loving gaze of Jesus focus on him and was overcome with such love that he was willing to hand over his lunch, however small? Even the disciples were dubious about how this lunch would help feed so many people.

“Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” – John 6:9

We may be like that little boy. We may think that we have nothing to offer to the Lord. We may look at others and wish that we had their talent (their gift of oratory), their seemingly endless confidence in themselves. We may not recognize our own gifts and even if we do, see them as insignificant as a small boy’s lunch, but when we grasp what Jesus was able to do with that small offering, we gain heart. Of course Jesus did not need that lunch to produce food for thousands, but how gracious he is in accepting the offering and what a powerful lesson for the entire crowd to see what selfless giving can bring about.

God can multiply our own gifts to work miracles; it just needs us to hand them over to him to use for his glory.image

“There are very few people who realize what God would make of them if they abandoned themselves into his hands and let them be formed by his grace” – St. Ignatius of Loyola.

If we remember that one small lunch the next time we think we have nothing to offer to our Lord, we will be only too willing to abandon ourselves to his grace and stand back in wonder at the miracle that will ensue.


  1. Thank you, Jennifer. Your kind words encourage me to keep writing. Thank you for being such a faithful friend. Love Jo


  2. Such a small offering took such courage to make . What an inspirational thought for us to remember. Thankyou Jo , again and again for your understanding and translation of the real meaning behind a story I have read over the years and can finally look into my own heart and understand! You continue to turn on the light of understanding for me. I have not read the story before and thought of it in the light of “what can I do ? ”
    I shall now! Much Love Jennifer


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