Open hands

There's a story in the gospel of John that I want to know more about. It's in chapter 6 - the story of Jesus feeding 5,000 people who came out to meet and listen to him. Here's the part I want to know more about:

Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”  - John 6:8 & 9

Here's my take on how this might have gone down. With a gleam in His eye, Jesus has queried his apostles about lunch plans, knowing full well what is about to happen. Philip, the pragmatic one, immediately sizes up the situation and exclaims, "Dude, are you out of your mind?!?!" (my paraphrase). Then Andrew, the "get-er-done" fisherman, looks out to see if he can spot anyone with anything that looks like it might be even marginally food-related. A few rows into the crowd, he sees a kid with a little basket covered with some kind of napkin. His mother obviously anticipated that she would not be able to listen to the Teacher if Junior started getting restless. What better way to keep him occupied than a snack? This conversation ensues....

    Andrew: "Hey there, young man! You having a good time today?"
    Boy: "Yeah, I guess. We've been out here a while though."
    Andrew: "Good thing you brought some lunch, huh? Say, what do you have in the basket?"
    Boy: "Mama packed me some fish and bread. I ate the apple already."
    Andrew: "Looks like you were the smart one. Boy, this crowd seems a little hungry. I don't guess you'd consider sharing those groceries, would you?"
    Boy (looking back and forth between Andrew and his mother): "Well, I don't know. I really only brought enough for me."
    Andrew: "How about this then? If it's OK with your mom, I can take you up front to meet Jesus." (Then, under his breath): "I don't know what's about to happen here, but I have a pretty good feeling that nobody is going away hungry today."
    Boy (glancing at mom and getting a nod, breaks into a smile): "Really? That would be great!"
    (Boy takes Andrew's hand and they walk back up to where Jesus is still talking with the other apostles. And the rest, as they say....)

I don't know how hard it was to talk the boy out of his lunch. What was Andrew's negotiation strategy? Was the boy happy to share, or reluctant? What I do know is there was a certain amount of trust involved. Andrew believed that Jesus was capable and willing to do something special, so he invited someone else into that event. The boy trusted that he would not go hungry, even though he was giving up all the food he had immediate access to.

Funny how trust means we have to give up something. We have to open up our hands and let go of something before we can receive what God has to offer. When we do, it's amazing how God multiplies that offering for the blessing of many. Is there something you're holding onto today that you need to turn loose of, so that God can bring you something better? Are you looking for someone to invite into the work of the kingdom, perhaps unsure of what the final outcome will be, just because you know the One leading the way is true?

Heads up, eyes open, men! Have a strong week.

Scott Thompson