One of the disciples—it was Andrew, brother to Simon Peter—said, “There’s a little boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But that’s a drop in the bucket for a crowd like this.” John 6:8, 9 (Msg)
I’ve never heard anyone commend the little boy who brought the lunch that fed thousands. In fact, even his name isn’t mentioned. We know about Andrew who quietly works in the background, and we know about Andrew’s brash brother Peter who usually dominates the conversation. But of the little boy who is instrumental in one of Jesus’ major miracles, we read one sentence. However, that single sentence tells us several things about this child through whom God works: 1) He’s young; 2) He’s present; 3) He’s probably poor (barley loaves were eaten by the poor); and 4) He was planning to share.
1) He’s young. Quite likely, this was a small child, a “little boy,” “a boy,” “a lad,” as described by most versions. We don’t know if he came alone or if he was with his family or hanging out with friends. 2) For whatever reason, he came to hear Jesus, and, as a result, took part in one of Jesus’ most famous miracles simply because he was there. 3) Although there may have been wealthier, more prominent people in the crowd, this small boy had exactly what Jesus needed to feed the thousands. 4) What small boy would carry such a big lunch unless he was thinking of splitting it with someone? Did this little guy come up to Andrew and volunteer his lunch when he saw the problem? Or did Andrew notice that the child had brought more than he needed?
There are so many things we don’t know about these details, but we do know that Jesus used a small, obscure, poor, unnamed, and generous young one to accomplish a great miracle that people still talk about today. In the middle of the impossible, Jesus had an unimagined resolution.
Father, when I’m proposing strategies for your interventions, please remind me of the Little Guy who came out of nowhere and who was on no one’s radar. AMEN.