One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?”
It was one of the greatest miracles of all time. In fact, it is the only miracle—apart from the resurrection—that is recorded in every gospel. Jesus took a meager meal, blessed it, broke it and gave it to his disciples to distribute among 5,000 people.
From where, however, did the loaves and fish originate? From a nameless little boy. Out of the crowd of 5,000 emerged this child offering his meager meal. Andrew scoffs at the gift wondering what impact it could truly make. Jesus, however, sees the opportunity for a multiplying miracle and has the crowd sit down.
As soon as the boy appears, though, he also disappears. He remains unnamed and unknown through the chronicles of the gospel. This boy showed us disciple-making leadership. He was willing to give what meagerness he had in order to draw people towards the miraculous Christ, yet he does so in utter obscurity.
Are you willing to lead people in obscurity?
We live in a selfie, insta-culture that seeks to draw attention to ourselves. What if Christ really meant what he said: “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.” Whoever is willing to lose, destroy, mar and diminish for the sake of the gospel will save it.
Halftime Ministries has a catchy phrase that moves men from success to significance, yet still at the heart of the transition is a narrasistic need to “make a difference.” The call of discipleship is a move from success to significance to sacrificial surrender.
While people speculate what happened to Paul, Peter, Andrew, James, John, Lazarus, Mary, Martha, Barnabas, John Mark, Timothy, Titus, Thomas…in the end they all fade into the backdrop just like this little boy. For the grand drama of the gospel is not about us but what Jesus did for us.
He takes our meager offerings and uses them to bless others well beyond what we could ever imagine.
As a pastor, one of my biggest fears is when someone speaks back to me what God said to them through my words. Often I want to correct them (that’s not what I said), or I don’t remember saying it, or I diminish my role. Yet, what God can do is take the smallest moments, the most innocuous situations, the most minor characters and for a moment use them for His glory.
So, are you willing to lead into obscurity where no one will remember you but will instead remember Christ? If so, then let go of your ego, your plans, your dreams, your meager meal and let God multiply it.