The Lad with a Lunch

A Generous Gift

We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. Romans 12:6-8

The event called The Feeding of the Five Thousand is recorded in all four Gospels.* The head count only included men. Quite likely, twice as many women and children were present, including the little lad who gave his lunch to Jesus (Matthew 14:21).

The miracle occurred in a desert area belonging to the city of Bethsaida (Luke 9:10). Philip, Andrew and Peter were from this town (John 1:44). They might have known the boy. He may boy-donated-lunchhave stood near them when they discussed with Jesus the need for food.

Jesus asked Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” The disciple responded, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” (John 6:5, 7)

The other disciples suggested, “Send the crowd away so they can go to the surrounding villages and countryside and find food and lodging, because we are in a remote place here,” but Jesus replied, “You give them something to eat” (Luke 9:12-13).

Andrew told Jesus, “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)

Jesus had the people sit in groups of about fifty each. He took the loaves and fish, thanked His Father for them, then gave them to the disciples to distribute. When the people had all had enough to eat, He said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” The leftovers filled twelve baskets (John 6:11-13).

The boy was insignificant—not counted among the 5,000 men. He had so little to give, but Jesus used his gift to satisfy the hunger of thousands of people. Can you imagine how the boy felt when he saw the fish and loaves multiplying?

You too have a gift. Don’t think it’s insignificant. Thank Jesus for it and ask Him to use it to bless others abundantly. Don’t let it be wasted.


Jesus asked Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” John 6:6 adds Jesus did this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do. Can you think of an impossible test you faced successfully that glorified God?

Read John 6:23-35. Later, after Jesus and his disciples had withdrawn, the crowds followed them. Why were they looking for Jesus? Have you sought a sign from God when he’s already given you plenty of them? Do you pray for spiritual as well as physical needs?

Do you know what gift God has given you? For more on spiritual gifts see Romans 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 7-10; 2 Corinthians 12:1-28; Ephesians 4:7-16 and 1 Peter 4:10.

Nancy Baker

*The Feeding of the Five Thousand is recorded in Matthew 14:14-21; Mark 6:34-44; Luke 9:12-17; and John 6:1-1-13.

Note: This devotion is part of a series, Unnamed Heroes


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