But What Are They Among So Many?

And they took up twelve baskets full of fragments and of the fish. Now those who had eaten the loaves were about five thousand men. – Mark 6:43

Since the Scripture makes it clear there were 5000 “men” witnessing this miracle, it is safe to assume there were closer to 15,000 in total attendance once women and children are accounted for in the tally.  That is one significant large group eating dinner.

From John’s account we know how the original food source of five loaves and two fish came into the disciples’ hand.  He writes how Andrew made the statement to Jesus, “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?” – John 6:9

If this was a “lad” or little boy’s lunch, then these aren’t tuna sized fish.  These are small, sardine sized fish small enough for him to use as lunch, along with some bread.  How this was brought to Andrews attention we do not know, but it possible the boy heard the disciples discussing among themselves how they didn’t have anything to give the crowd to eat.  So it’s reasonable to think he approached one of the disciples, maybe Andrew, and gave what he had to them.

“….but what are they among so many?”

Here is the last lesson in this series of posts on the Feeding Of The 5000, Even a little amount given to God, can do great things.

Andrew was right in his assessment that this little boy’s lunch wasn’t going to make a dent in meeting the needs of this large crowd.  It was however, all the boy had and just like the widow’s mite (Mark 12:41-44), this boy gave what he had.  Andrew was forgetting who the boy was giving his lunch too.

You might think nothing can be done with your small contribution.  You might even consider the need to be so great that your efforts are insignificant and like Andrew, look at what you have and say, …”but what are they among so many?”  I believe giving unselfishly warms God’s heart.  When we give to Him, even a small amount, He finds a way to multiply our generosity and meet needs in ways we cannot even imagine.

I can only speak for myself at this point, but had I been there, prepared with a sack lunch, I am afraid my response would have been more along the lines of “Why didn’t these people think ahead and bring their own food?  Why do I have to give up my lunch for their lack of thinking ahead?”  I can be so selfish and so can many of us – but not this little boy.  Jesus rewarded his unselfish act and multiplied his 5 loaves and 2 fish in a way no one expected.  Can you imagine the story he was able to tell about God used him to meet the needs of 15,000 people!

Even a small amount given to God, can do great things!

So, these are the four lessons for the Feeding of The 5000…

  1. Ministry can and often will occur in desert or desolate places (vs 31-32)
  2. God has equipped and provided resources for you to use to serve His people (vs 37-38)
  3. Go wants you to participate in His work (vs 41)
  4. Even a small amount given to God can do great things (vs 43-44)

In His Service,

Jeff Millslagle


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