Our Role In Drawing Out The Fish and Loaves From Our Students



By Bobby Benavides

The Feeding of the Five Thousand has always been a great teaching tool about God’s provision.

We’ve all heard the story many times from John 6 of the young boy coming with his tiny lunch, and Jesus using what was given to feed a multitude of people. Such a small amount of food, but God was able to multiply it to provide sustenance for the large crowd of five thousand plus.

The story is definitely one that demonstrates Christ’s great power and love for His people.

Yet, I think there’s something we can gain from the story that provides guidance and encouragement for our role as youth workers and mentors.

After seeing the large crowd, Jesus asked his disciples how the people were going to eat. Then we find this interaction:

[Jesus] asked this only to test [Philip], 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).

I think by asking his disciples, but having a plan in place, Jesus shows a sense of humor (at least for me). But the important piece we have to acknowledge is, “He himself knew what he was intending to do.” That means Jesus knew exactly by what means he was going to provide a meal for the entire group of people. He was waiting for the right time to reveal his plan of action.

Jesus knew he was going to use a young boy the entire time. He knew he was going to multiply a small lunch into something greater, and it would make an impact on the lives of many.

What does this have to do with our role as leaders and mentors in the lives of our students?

Look who pointed out the kid’s lunch! It wasn’t Jesus, but one of his disciples, Andrew! Andrew saw what the kid had and brought it to Jesus’ attention. Although Jesus already knew what the kid was carrying, he wanted Andrew to share it with him.

Not only that, but I believe the boy needed Andrew to show him that he had something worthwhile to offer. No matter how small the lunch was, it was still worth something and Jesus could use it to influence a community of people.

The role of the youth leader is to help our young people discover what they have. We are to help them discover what kind of lunch they are holding and help them offer it to Christ in order for him to use it for his glory.

Jesus knows what our kids hold inside. Sometimes we can also see what gifts they have. Perhaps if we went to Jesus with the gifts we see in our kids, and allow him to do the work, we might see more young people rising to leadership and service within the church because they discover that they have something to offer!

What if our young people had more Andrews in their lives? What if they had more people pointing out their lunches and offering them up to Jesus? What if more youth were told that even the smallest gift can be used by God to change a community?

5,000+ people were fed that day from a young boy’s lunch. Andrew showed the community that a boy could provide something that could keep them going. Christ used what Andrew revealed and the gift of the boy, to open the eyes of a large group, and demonstrate his power in their lives.

May we help our young people discover their gifts. May we lift their gifts up to Jesus and allow him to use them for his glory.