CAST Voices Devotion: Learning from the Little Ones
By Cindy Whittle
Part I: Children have unquestioning faith
John 6: Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand
Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the signs he had performed by healing the sick. Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. The Jewish Passover Festival was near.
When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.
Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” 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?”
Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.
When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.
What … if? What if? These two words have the power to hold us back and stifle even the most confident voice in us if accompanied by the slightest bit of fear and doubt – “I want to share my idea but what if no one agrees with me? I want to believe the encouraging words I received today but what if my colleagues are just saying good things about me but they don’t actually mean it? I want to share my prayer request but what if everyone judges me if I am vulnerable and real?” But in the absence of fear and doubt and in the presence of Jesus, they are two very powerful words indeed. Two words at the inception of every innovative movement and every leap of faith CAST has taken, “What if poor people, who are possibly even in debt, could save money each month? What if fish farming could be started inland in Noodsberg? What if people could permanently move out of poverty? What if the cycle of fatherlessness could be broken? What if an 8 year old refugee child who could barely recognise a handful of letters at the start of a year could learn to read and maybe even write by the end of that year? What if there could be no poor among us?”
Friends, the little boy in this passage was poor. He had five small loaves of barley bread, the cheapest bread at the time, pretty much considered animal feed, and two small fishes similar to sardines or anchovies. But he asked “What if?” I imagine he asked “What if I gave my lunch to Jesus? What if I held nothing back?” No fear, no doubt, just the unquestioning faith that Jesus can do the impossible if we bring what we have to Him. Jesus can take our ‘what if’s’ and turn them into a reality, a certainty, for the advancement of His Kingdom.
- Consider the loaves and fishes in your hands today. The multitudes are hungry. What holds you back from giving all you have to Jesus?
- Do you ask “What if?” In your work or in your personal life? Even if it seems really unlikely, even an impossibility, do you ask it in any case and then hand it over to Jesus to make a way?
- Children have unquestioning faith. At what point have we lost that as grown-ups? And most importantly, how do we get it back?