Several years ago, I re-read the passage where Jesus fed the 5,000. This is perhaps one of the most frequently-referenced miracles of Christ’s ministry. What an amazing feat. Yet, embedded in this story is a point that I’d never considered until this particular day. I eventually developed a sermon and an article out of this thought. I decided to blog it tonight…
Here was a kid — probably not even a teenager yet on his way out the door to hear this prophet/teacher that had been creating such a stir. He was probably in a hurry as boys his age typically were. I can almost here her voice now — John Mark? Do you have your jacket? John Mark? Dont forget to put on your sandals? Watch out for camels when youre crossing the streets! Dont talk to Samaritans! Make sure you are home in time for evening prayers! And oh. John Mark! Heres a little lunch for you in case you get hungry!
With a sigh, the little boy rolls his eyes as every boy of every generation since and before has done at the cluckings of his mother. Without out a thought, he twirls, grabs the small bundle wrapped in a cloth and tucked in an old leather pouch, pecks his mother on the cheek and darts out of the door. Hurrying, lest she interrupt his big plans with yet another admonition. All you hear now is the dull thud of his sandaled feet padding through the dusty paths as he trotted to the gathering near the Sea of Tiberias.
As he approached, he was shocked at the size of the crowd. The roads were packed with others who were rushing to this open-air event. He had to cut across the hill-sides and through the bushes and briars to be able to get a good position where he could hear. Finally, finding an acceptable spot, he sat and listened to the words of this man they called Jesus.
At first, he thought it was thunder. But then, he realized it was his stomach. He looked at the sun and could tell by its position that it was well past lunch time. Jesus had taken a break from his teaching and he was surrounded by some of his loyal assistants. The boy reached for his pouch and unfolded the napkin. There nestled in its folds was a feast for a boy as hungry as he was. Two small fishes and five barley rolls. Leftovers from last nights dinner. But in his current state, this was a meal fit for a King.
Then he became aware of a shadow. Someone was standing over his shoulder. As he looked up, he saw a tall, rough-looking man. A man they called Andrew. What do you have there, boy? Why, its just a small lunch, sir. Something my mother gave me as I left her home this morning. Would you share it with the Master? he asked. Pausing, hesitating, as any ravenous boy might, he gulped and slowly shook his head. For the Master? Yes, I will share. And he handed over his lunch and we know the rest of the story.
This was truly one of Christs most spectacular miracles. Scripture tells us that somewhere between five and ten thousand people were likely fed that day from that little snack pack. And when it was over, there were 12 baskets of leftovers.
When we read this story.many times we focus on the miracle of the Lord as well we should. Sometimes, we consider the attitudes of the apostles — also an opportunity for learning much. Ive also heard applications made regarding the boys part in this drama and again, much can be learned.
But right now, I want us to focus on someone who was very likely in this scenario, but whom is never mentioned.
Lets hear it for the Lunch Packer!
For you see, this miracle had another participant who has remained nameless throughout the ages. In all likelihood, it was the boys mother. A little lady with calloused hands and stooped shoulders whose brightest joy was this little olive-skinned, curly-haired lad. He was her pride and joy. She anticipated his needs, she sacrificed for his well-being, she toiled in anonymity and she served with faithfulness.
Glamorous, she was not. Famous, she would never be. But her faithfulness was as much a part of this story as was Andrew or the lad or the multitude. For she was the lady who had the foresight to pack her son a lunch.
Most all of us have had a lunch packer in our lives. A mother, grand-mother, a dad or aunt someone who saw to it that we were ready for the day when we werent discerning enough or mature enough or smart enough to think ahead for ourselves. Today, many of us have experienced a modicum of success. Many of us are comfortable. Many of us are being used by the Lord in some way for His kingdoms sake. But let us not forget OUR lunch packers.
(If you enjoy commenting, perhaps you might leave a comment telling about some “lunch packer” in YOUR life.)