What do all famous people have in common? One thing–name recognition. If you want to be famous, people usually have to know your name.
There is one historical character, however, that bucks the system. He is famous. His story has been told in churches across the world for millennia. However, he differs from other famous people in one respect: no one knows his name.
How can a person become famous when no one knows his name?
Let’s back up a little and find out how it happened.
After a grueling day filled with healing the sick and teaching the masses, Jesus boarded a boat and crossed the Sea of Galilee. He probably wanted a break. After all, everywhere He went people thronged Him.
He couldn’t escape the crowds, however. Closer they came…some by boat, others by foot. Single men, groups of children, ladies carrying infants. Jesus and His disciples sat high on the mountain observing.
Maybe some of the disciples were thinking about their good fortune. They sat on the cusp of what Jews had anticipated for centuries: Jesus was about to establish His kingdom and emancipate the Jewish people from Roman oppression. Maybe a couple other disciples were simply lamenting the fact that their visions of an afternoon siesta were about to be dashed.
Suddenly Jesus broke the silence. “Philip, where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?” (John 6:5).
What? They were sitting on the edge of a mountain. There was no Walmart to be found. There was not even a Family Dollar. Every town has a Family Dollar.
Philip responded first. “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little” (John 6:7).
A denarius was usually considered equal to a day’s work, so if someone worked for two hundred days straight, he still would be unable to feed this crowd.
About that time Andrew spoke up. “Well, there is one little lad…” It seems that in this whole crowd, only one little boy had enough foresight to pack a lunch. Or at least he was the only one willing to admit it.
One lunched packed for a little boy. A couple little loaves of bread and two small fish. A kid’s meal at Long John Silver’s. That was it. Andrew’s question stated the obvious: “What are they among so many?”
Jesus refused to allow a minor setback like inadequate supplies to deter Him. He commanded the disciples to have everyone sit down and strap on their bibs. They were about to have a feast.
“And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted” (John 6:11).
Talk about a buffet!
But Jesus wasn’t finished yet. When He ordered the disciples to gather up all the leftovers, they filled twelve baskets.
Twelve baskets? How do you take a sack lunch, feed over five thousand people, and have twelve baskets left over? I’ve never really been a whiz at math, but that one just doesn’t make sense.
Maybe we misread it. Or maybe Jesus did something miraculous.
John didn’t tell us what they did with those baskets of food, but I like to think they went home with the little boy. Can you imagine his mother meeting him at the door? “Son, why are these twelve guys following you with baskets of food?” “Oh, Mom, they’re just helping carry what’s left of my lunch. I couldn’t eat it all!”
Who was this little boy? We don’t know. We don’t know the names of his parents. We don’t know his age. All we know is that he handed his lunch over to Jesus, accepting the fact that he might have to go hungry.
As far as we know, this kid had no extraordinary skill set or even a reputable family. But he had something greater that allowed God to use him: willingness. He had something Jesus wanted and he gave it up.
I wonder how many of us would have given up our lunch, not knowing what would happen?
You want God to use you? Don’t lament because you have less than someone else. God has given you something, and He expects you to use that something. Just be willing to use whatever you have for His glory. Offer up your little lunch and let Him worry about feeding the masses.