25 May 2022

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Hearts of faith and generosity

My attention was drawn to a different perspective to the familiar story of the Loaves and Fish where Jesus feeds more than 5000 people with only five barley loaves and two fish, and has leftovers! It is a miracle that astonishes us and is envy of any parent with growing children! Of all the miracles we know Jesus performed, it’s the only one that is repeated in each of the Gospels, such was the impact of this occasion, but only in the Gospel of John does the Bible record where the five loaves and two fish come from: a young boy.

A packed lunch of five loaves of bread and two fish does sound like a lot of food for one person. A little bit of reading about barley loaves reveals that they would have been like pita bread, so perhaps to a growing child, five pita breads and two dried fish is quite reasonable. Even so, what it represents is a supply of more than what one person needs, so he shared his food with others.

It’s been several days that I have been ‘chewing’ over in my mind the role of this young boy in the story. As a parent myself, I think of how I am raising my children each day. How am I equipping them to meet the challenges and opportunities presented to them? The parent of this young boy had obviously instilled in him a generous spirit and a heart that is willing to believe that one small act can make a big impact. When this young boy heard that so many were going hungry, he offered his lunch. In itself and by himself he was not the solution, but his step of faith and generosity saw a miracle occur.

In recent weeks, the Junior School students and I have been discussing the topic of Unlikely Heroes in the Bible. We’ve talked about people who have seen a problem not as a difficulty, but as an opportunity. We’ve identified that these unlikely heroes didn’t find success alone, but within community and with God’s strength. Both Junior School campuses have proven this principle as they come together to support World Vision Sponsor Children and resource Indigenous communities with books. Later this year, I look forward to seeing students make a difference in service-learning activities such as Light up Vanuatu and the Tree Project. These projects are opportunities to impact problems that seem huge but together, one solar lamp at a time, one planted tree at a time we can make a massive difference.

Rebecca Gaskell

Junior School Chaplain

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