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A Packed Lunch

“There’s a young boy here with five barley loaves and two fish.  But what good is that with this huge crowd?”  John 6:9 (NLT)

My school mates were reminiscing recently over a cup of coffee on their memories of unpalatable school dinners.  What was your school dinner experience?  Did anyone have a good one?  Those of a certain age will remember spam fritters.  Even to this day, when I think about them I cringe.  The salty spam slab of processed meat was covered in a thick layer of truly awful batter and deep-fried – maybe just soaked? – in oil until, the grease level went off the charts.  Then there was the stewed sausage drowned in gelatinous onion gravy accompanied by the chemistry set taste of instant mash.  I dreaded the weekly appearance of the watery, overcooked, rank-smelling grey cauliflower they served up in the lumpy wallpaper paste which masqueraded as cheese sauce.  However, while my friends thought otherwise, I still have fond memories of the puddings.  The lovely creamy custard could make ever the prospect of double afternoon physics bearable.  Blancmange with prunes; pink custard; semolina and rosehip syrup… delectable!  At our table we used to share our lunches.  I would readily exchange a spam fritter for four prunes!

In John 6 we read of a young boy who willingly shared his lunch.  Five thousand people were waiting to be fed.  The loaves given were not big, long loaves of bread.  Rather, they were small round pieces of flat bread the size of biscuits today.  And the fish were not trophy bass, but rather sardine-like in size.  When the young boy’s mom packed his lunch bag that day, she had no idea of its significance and the miracle which lay ahead.  Jesus took those little biscuits and sardines and they were multiplied in His hands.  He just kept on breaking them and giving them to His disciples, and the loaves and fish kept on multiplying.  He kept breaking and giving until every person in the crowd had no more desire for food.  And when the disciples took of the leftovers, there were twelve baskets full.  One for every doubting disciple!

That little boy received back from his generosity more than he could carry home.  Let’s remember that little is always much in the hands of Christ.