Giving that others might believe
A true story with amplification for understanding stewardship.
I’m just a kid. I live near the Sea of Galilee. Sometimes they call it the Sea of Tiberias. Grownups are always telling me what to do when I’d rather be out playing. But one day I did what they asked, and something neat happened.
I was eating lunch when I saw lot of people over on a hill near my house. I wanted to know what they were doing, so I stuffed my lunch into a basket and ran to see. When I got there I couldn’t see because everyone was so tall, but I heard them talking about Yeshua, the rabbi from Nazareth. Then I heard footsteps, and this big guy was coming toward me. I knew he was big because I saw his shadow even before I saw him.
The man’s name was Andrew, and he talked to me. He said he traveled around with Rabbi Yeshua. I wondered what Andrew wanted. Had I done something wrong? Or maybe he wanted me to help carry something. Grownups are always asking me to help carry something. I was already carrying the rest of my lunch I hadn’t used up. Oh, well. If he had something else for me to carry I would try.
It was kind of weird. When Andrew talked to me it was almost as if God himself was talking. Andrew was gentle for someone so big. He asked how much food I had. What a strange question! I told him I had five loaves and only two fishes. I already ate the other three fishes at home. (I caught them myself and they weren’t very big.) Maybe Yeshua was going to make a special example or tell a parable about my lunch. Or maybe Andrew was going to get his chance to teach and he needed a story to tell. But no, I figured like always, probably I was going to have to carry something.
While I was thinking about it, Andrew left and went back through the crowd to Yeshua. That’s it?” I thought. “Nothing else? Oh, well, at least I got to talk to an almost famous person.”
Then just a few minutes later Andrew and one of the others came back. He said that Yeshua wanted to use my bread and my fish to help the people believe in God more. I didn’t understand, but he said that if I would do what he said I would see a miracle. WOW! That was what I was waiting for. Yeshua did one for my cousin Mordecai.
Well, okay, maybe it wasn’t exactly a miracle, but one day Yeshua stopped along the road as he walked by and called the kids. Cousin Mordy heard him and ran up to him with his sister Rivka. (She’s my cousin too.) And he hugged them and gave them each a special blessing. We still don’t know how much that means, but maybe it’s a blessing for our whole family, that life will be better than it is, kind of like what my dad calls HOPE. And I think it has started to be better for Mordy and for Rivka. They said they have a happy feeling they never had before — at least that’s what they told me. I asked them if they still have to work hard and they said, yes, but they are happier because Yeshua touched them and blessed them. So I wanted to see Yeshua, too, when I found out that all the people were there because they were following him.
Anyhow, Andrew had promised a miracle. All I had to do was give up my lunch. I had already had some of it, so I didn’t mind. I handed it over. Andrew took it, and another of Yeshua’s followers told us all to sit down. There were people all over the place. Someone told me later there were more than 5,000 people. That’s a lot!
Some stood, but most of us sat down. I kind of cheated and sat on my knees, so I could see better. Yeshua held up the fish and the loaves and said something, a blessing, I guess. Then he started breaking the food in pieces and it was all getting passed around, and then some got to me and I took some and passed a big loaf to the next family. Funny, I didn’t remember having one that size in my basket. Maybe he had asked others for their lunches, too. Anyway, we all ate. Afterwards everyone said they were full. I sure was full! I wondered why they needed my lunch if they had all that other food.
Then Andrew came back. He gave me my basket and it had MORE food in it than when I started out. He said, “Thanks.” I said, “You’re welcome.” That was it. No neat miracle. No special blessing from Yeshua like my cousins got. Oh well. I did meet some nice people.
Then today I heard some people talking. They said they saw Yeshua feed 5,000 people with only a few fishes and loaves of bread. WHAT? I thought everyone else had given their lunch, too. Nope, they insisted. Yeshua did it with the lunch of just one little boy. WOW! They meant me! But I never knew–at least, not until today.
I guess that’s how miracles work. Yeshua touched Mordy and Rivka and they have a better life. He lifted my lunch up to the sky and prayed and now I am famous and–well, I guess, he’s famous and I feel good that God used what I had to make a miracle for others. Maybe I didn’t see the Red Sea split like my ancestors did. Maybe I won’t ever see a really big miracle. But I saw one the other day. That’s for sure. God took what I had and made it so much more that probably everyone in the whole world could have had some if they were there.
I kept one of the loaves that Yeshua’s friend Andrew gave back to me. Maybe I’ll see Yeshua again and get to remind him of the miracle he did. But even if I don’t, I will remember God’s miracle and that I should keep on giving if it helps others to believe God more. I wish everyone would do that!
Bob Mendelsohn is the leader of Jews for Jesus' work in Sydney, Australia. He grew up in an Orthodox Jewish family in Kansas City, but became a college drop-out when he decided to look for the meaning of life in the counterculture of the '60s. He found meaning and relevance in Jesus which caused him much trouble at home. But he says, "it was worth the cost." Bob has worked for Jews for Jesus since 1979, and served as the leader of our work in Washington DC and New York City before moving to Sydney in 1998. Bob and his wife Patty both graduated from the University of Kansas and Fuller Seminary. The Mendelsohns live in Sydney near their son. Their two daughters and two grandsons live in the US. Their son has a son and is expecting another in 2019.