Fish and Chips
There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many? ~John 6:9
If you like to eat seafood, you’ve probably had fish and chips at least one time. This term originated in England and refers to battered fish that has been deep fried and is served with potato strips or French-fried potatoes. It is a delicious entrée that even someone who does not like to eat fish will enjoy. Our devotion this morning is not exactly about fish and chips, but it is about two very small, sardine-type fishes and five barley loaves that a little lad gave to Jesus to help minister to a large number of people. We see a lesson on faith and how God works through the very smallest of things.
We see a deficiency.
Jesus was out in the countryside ministering to a very large number of people. The number of people that were present was 5,000 men, plus women and children. Night would be approaching and Jesus was concerned about feeding the people. He asked, “Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?” He was testing Philip and the other apostles to see their response to the problem. Philip pointed out a deficiency. “Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little.” There was a shortage of resources and money to address this problem from how Philip saw it. The beginning of anything big that God will do is when we realize the deficiency in our resources.
We see the discovery.
Andrew found a little lad who had brought his lunch basket that day. While the other disciples were scratching their heads and trying to come up with a plan to feed the multitude, Andrew started looking for people who had anything that Jesus could consider. I’m thankful that Andrew did not completely write off this little lunch basket. He assessed what was available and he brought it to Jesus. Not only did he bring the lunch basket, but he also brought the little lad. While it might have appeared as a meager discovery, Andrew took it to Jesus.
We see the doubting.
Andrew, however, asked, “What are they among so many?” While he was diligent in accounting for this meager resource, he had much doubt in his heart about how this could satisfy the needs of a multitude that was over 5,000 people. Doubt and unbelief are the paralysis of the soul. They are the enemies of faith and robbers of joy. They can be a controlling cancer that prevents us from seeing God work in our behalf. The Israelites once asked, “Can God furnish a table in the wilderness?” Doubting and unbelief will kill the momentum of faith.
We see the donation.
Regardless, the little lad did something incredible. He gave the entire lunch basket to Jesus! He gave it without reservation. He gave it without regrets. He gave it without expecting anything in return. He gave of the free will of his heart. I believe this little lad did not realize that he was practicing grace giving. He gave of himself first, then of his gift. His gift was a freewill offering of the abundance of his heart.
We see the dynamic.
Jesus blessed these little fragments and distributed them to the apostles, who then distributed them to the multitude. Miraculously, the bread and fish were multiplied so that everyone present had more than enough to satisfy their hunger and nourish them. There is only one explanation for what happened: God did the miraculous! The little lad may have been the only one with the faith to believe what Jesus could do!
We see the documentation.
After everyone had been served, Jesus instructed the apostles to gather up the fragments that remained. Amazingly, twelve baskets of fragments were collected. This was ample documentation to everyone present that Jesus did the impossible.
Are you at a place in life where the resources that you have are inadequate for the demand? Why not have the faith of that little lad and trust God completely with your deficiency or shortage? Have faith in God!
Have a faith-filled God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Ezekiel 46-48