There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?
It has been heartbreaking to witness the scenes from Italy and Spain showing how so many people are suffering because of the lack of equipment and hospital beds. There is nothing more frustrating than seeing a need but knowing that you lack the resources to help. We pray that we shall not experience a similar situation in our country and pray that every country will soon have the resources needed to tackle the virus.
As Christians we have a part to play in tackling the virus in Wales. We know that some among us will make a vital contribution on the front line while others of us will contribute by staying at home, self-isolating, in order to help the NHS. Both are important.
But how can we contribute spiritually?
We may feel that the needs are too many. In many of our communities we are aware of the seriousness of the spiritual state. So many people care nothing about God and live for the pleasure and happiness that this world has to offer, not giving eternity another thought – what can we do “for so many?”
You may think that you have nothing to offer. You do not have the necessary skills to go online to share the gospel and you may yourself be fearful when faced with this illness – what use is this “for so many?”
This verse and this story offer such wonderful comfort because they show how Jesus can use something small and trivial to transform a situation and bring such astonishing glory to God. I scarcely believe that the young boy could have ever imagined what Jesus did with his five loaves and two fish, sharing them with the thousands.
The need was great while the resources were meagre, but Jesus was stronger.
What can Jesus do through you today?
Don’t deceive yourself into thinking that you have nothing to offer. Your offering may be a small word of encouragement to another Christian, or may be a prayer, perhaps a self sacrifying deed or perhaps you will get an opportunity to share your fears honestly with a non-believer while testifying to your sure hope in God. You may not even be aware of the Spirit working through you, but there is such comfort to know that Jesus is using us and that there is no situation too difficult for him.
These uncertain times are unsettling people, causing them to question what is important in life. The spiritual needs are great – have you got a loaf or a fish to give today?
Steffan Job (Capel y Ffynnon, Bangor)