Hello, Julia here today.
Don’t know about anyone else, but I sometimes feel like I’m not sure what I’m doing…
It can be hard to know how to help.
Maybe that’s why I relate to this picture so well. That cat is clearly an expert and doesn’t need any help from that human! It’s kind of that man to get involved anyway. At least he’s willing.
Today I wanted to look at one of the classic stories you tend to hear about Jesus – the feeding of the 5000. Have a look in John 6.1-14.
We see the generosity of Jesus is this story, when he chooses to take care of the crowd of 5000 or so people rather than send them away to find their own tea. Thank God for the times he has gone above and beyond for you.
The disciples wonder where they are going to get this food, and Andrew finds a boy who has a packed lunch. Andrew brings him to Jesus.
This is not the first time Andrew has brought someone to speak with Jesus – when he first met Jesus, the first thing he did was go get his brother Simon, soon to be called Peter, to come and meet him as well. It was quite the significant moment in Peter’s life. Andrew was right when he thought Peter should meet Jesus, and we see in this story that he was right that Jesus would want to hear from this boy who had offered to help. Thank God for the people who have been there for you and helped to lead you to knowing God.
Now we move on to the boy and his packed lunch. Question: Why did he want to give it to Jesus and the disciples to try feed the crowd?
Our John has a theory for this I believe. Perhaps the boy’s suspicious eagerness to get rid of it came from something along the lines of “that’s the third time this week Mum’s given me fish sandwiches…”
The thing is, when the boy gave his packed lunch, there was no way he expected it to feed the entire crowd. When he gave it to Jesus and the disciples, he wasn’t expecting to solve the whole problem. But he chose to help anyway.
And actually, when he gave it to Jesus, it made a lot more difference and went a whole lot further than he could have known.
See if you can think of any times in your life when someone has done something to help you – even something quite small – and it has made a big difference.
I remember a time when I was a teenager and was worried about something. My friend asked me how I was doing, and gave me a chocolate button to cheer me up. (Chocolate is always the answer.) A chocolate button is fairly small, but it meant a lot to me that day.
There was another time when I was walking to school on my own when I was about 11 one winter, and I saw some children from my year on the way, having a snowball fight. It looked really fun, but I was too shy to join in. That was until one of them turned round and threw a snowball at me! It is a strange way to show kindness, but I took it! A snowball fight might not seem like a huge deal in the great scheme of things, but it still meant a lot to me.
Sometimes the world can feel overwhelming. There are some huge problems, and it’s easy to feel like there is nothing you can do to help, and that you can’t solve anything. But I think this story shows that it’s OK if you feel like your efforts are inadequate – doing what you can is enough. Even if something seems insignificant, it could mean the world to someone else. The important thing is that whenever there is an opportunity to help, we help.
And what’s more, it isn’t all down to us anyway. The boy gave his packed lunch to Jesus, and Jesus prayed and shared out a feast.
If Jesus was so powerful, could he have solved the problem on his own anyway? Did he really need the disciples and the boy? Maybe it’s because of God’s love for us, that he wants to do good things that include our input. God works with us because what we do matters, and it is important to him.
Let’s pray that God will help us see the ways we can help others today, in the big moments and the smaller moments. Thank God that he can do so much good with the smallest, most insignificant seeming things.
Even if you can’t solve someone’s problem, being there and doing what you can is important and valuable.
Have a good day!