Small Things Matter Much
Here is a boy with five small loaves of barley bread. He also has two small fish. But how far will that go in such a large crowd? – John 6:9 (NIRV)
Many of us love picnics. I have fond memories of picnics at the Singapore Botanic Gardens. In true Asian style, our picnic food consisted not of sandwiches, salads or pies packed into vintage baskets, but of ju kueh from a famous hawker stall, home-cooked char bee hoon and traditional local baguette to dip in chicken curry. There was always plenty to eat.
We are told of another picnic that took place more than two thousand years ago where 5,000 men were present (or some 15,000 if we included women and children). A large crowd was following Jesus because they had seen Him perform miracles. As it was getting late, He told His disciples to give the people something to eat. Phillip, a disciple quick with mental sums, estimated that it would take two hundred denarii (a denarius was a day’s wage for a labourer) to buy enough food to feed all of them.
A growing boy, perhaps like one of our P5s or P6s, whose name we are not told, had brought along five barley loaves and two small fish. As it was near dinner, he was very hungry. He could well have eaten a horse, let alone five loaves and two fish! He was probably sitting within earshot of the Lord’s preposterous request. He was willing to share his food, but what good was his dinner for such a large crowd? He was also worried about the ridicule from others for thinking that his meal mattered for a need so great.
In those moments of reckoning, the boy saw Jesus looking at him. His eyes were neither stern nor judgmental, but gentle, loving and beckoning. They spoke into his heart, Trust in me.
Encouraged, the boy handed his five loaves and two fish to Jesus. Jesus gave thanks for the food and told His disciples to distribute them to the people. Right before his very eyes, the boy saw his five loaves and two fish being multiplied in the hands of Jesus. Everyone had their fill. In the end, there were twelve basketful of leftovers.
Today, Jesus is once again inviting us to offer up our five loaves and two fish for His use and glory. Each boy, staff member, parent and partner has strengths and abilities, and Jesus can multiply these to bless the school community. However, Jesus is not just looking at the kind of five loaves and two fish that can win prizes and trophies or bring prestige to the school; the sacrifices that Jesus is pleased with may even go unnoticed by people, such as a kind act or showing respect for others. Indeed, in ACS (Primary), our boys are learning that cleaning up after themselves in the canteen, controlling their tongue, volunteering to help a friend, being a good team player, having a good learning attitude and keeping their classroom clean are sacrifices that will make school a better place for all. After all, God does not despise our small gifts. He used a couple who were past child-bearing age to create a nation for Himself and a tongue-tied shepherd to lead His people out of slavery. All He needs is our faithfulness and obedience; we can trust Him to do the rest.
As we participate in God’s mission for our school, let us watch and wait in eager anticipation for how He will multiply our five loaves and two fish as we offer them up to Him. He is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us (Ephesians 3:20)! To God Be The Glory. The Best Is Yet To Be!
Mrs Leong-Ho Hil May