BREAD AND FISH
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?’ (John 6:8-9 NIV)
Our church was named Streetsville Presbyterian Church until 1917. In 1917, the name was changed to St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church. St. Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland. There are many Presbyterian churches in Canada that bear the name of St. Andrew. As we read the history of Streetsville, we will find that many of the original settlers came from Scotland or Ireland. I think that the decision to change the name of Streetsville Presbyterian Church to St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church simply reflected the original culture of the membership in the first 100 years. Our church was founded in 1821.
Yet I believe that God has another reason for the renaming of our church to become St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in 1917. This has something to do with Andrew’s response to Jesus’ desire to feed the 5,000 men (plus women and children) who had come to hear Jesus teach. Jesus asks Philip, one of the disciples, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” (John 6:5) Philip replies, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” (John 6:7) Philip gives a realistic answer. If it was one thing that Jesus and his disciples do not have at the moment, it is money to feed the 5,000!
On the other hand, Andrew, who is Simon Peter’s brother, another of Jesus’ disciples, looks around to see if people brought some food that could be shared around. Andrew does not sit around and accept the fact that they do not have enough money. He does something about it. Yet all Andrew can find is a boy with 5 small barley loaves and 2 small fish. That’s all he can find. Yet he still brings the boy before Jesus. He asks Jesus, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” (John 6:9) Andrew does something practical about the situation. Yet what he does is not enough. Yet he still brings it before Jesus.
I see Andrew’s response to the conundrum as a form of prayer. He does not sit around and just accept the limitation of money. He looks around. Then when he finds a boy with 5 small loaves and 2 fish, he brings it before Jesus. Lord, all we have are 5 small loaves and 2 fish. How can this feed 5,000? Lord all I have is a limited bank account and so little time, how can you use me? Lord, all I can do is be available on Sunday mornings. How can you use me? Lord, I don’t know what to do. How can you guide me?
We all know what Jesus does with Andrew’s mere 5 loaves and 2 small fish. He feeds 5,000 men (plus women and children). I think all Jesus looks for in us is to look around and present what we have found before him. He can feed 5,000 with the mere 5 loaves and 2 small fish we present to him.
As St. Andrew’s Church, we do not know what our future will be. What does Jesus ask of us? He calls us to act as Andrew does before Jesus. He calls us to look around. If we find 5 loaves and 2 fish, Jesus wants us to present them to him. Can you find any bread or fish?