I've never been a big fan personally of the classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but with a two- year old in the house, we seem to eat them quite often. This simple meal has sustained toddlers, teens, and adults through many days over the last number of decades. You've got your protein, your grains, and your fruit (assuming the jelly of choice actually has some real fruit in it!). Add a glass of milk and you've covered the basic food groups. Nothing flashy. Nothing elaborate or expensive. But filling, cheap, and usually quite available.
I've been reflecting lately on simple meals. In the gospels, Jesus takes a simple meal, blesses it, and feeds the five thousand. This beloved story has been used countless times in churches to remind us all of how God can use even the smallest gift we have to give. I know this story well. I've preached on it several times. But a truth in the story hit home for me in a new way this week.
During a time of reflection, I was led to consider the size and simplicity of the young boy's meal of five small loaves of bread and two fish. (Perhaps the PB&J of his day?) I can only guess that as the disciples went around the crowd asking if anyone had food, the young boy was not the only person out of 5,000 who had thought to bring a lunch. Surely there were others who looked at their meal and decided not to share. For some reason, however, the boy looked at what he had and decided that if the Master really wanted it, that was reason enough to give it. He gave, God blessed, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Here's where my heart was stirred. How often have I been one in the crowd who took a look at his lunch and decided that it was too small or insignificant to bother giving it to God? Oh sure, I can think of times where I have done simple things in the hopes that God would bless it. But far more often, I save myself and my energy for those "big" moments of contribution. Once I have a great big grocery cart of food, then God can really use that. Once I have something really great to offer God, I will give it gladly. And yet I can't help but wonder; how often is the Master asking me to put my PB&J into His hands to be used? A short note of encouragement, a few minutes to lend a helping hand, a brief phone call to encourage, a simple act of kindness- are these the things that could feed the crowd today?
May you be encouraged today to offer all that you have to the Master, be it something grand and wonderful, or simple and common. God is in the habit of using the smallest gestures for the greatest impact, so that in the end everyone will know that the real gift was God's blessing, and not the person who gave it.
Journey in His grace this day.