Have you ever noticed the mother in the Bible story of Jesus feeding the crowd of five thousand with the lunch offered by a little boy? If you read John chapter 6, you won’t actually find a mention of any woman, but I know she was there. This story doesn’t happen the same way without a mom.
Bible stories come to life in my mind, like characters from a favorite book. I imagine the mother of that little boy waking up early and packing lunches before they set out to hear the Teacher. Five small rolls and a couple of fish—the equivalent of a modern-day bologna sandwich. “We’re going to hear Jesus today, son. He’s the one I’ve been telling you about. He is the son of God and can perform miracles. Now, grab your lunch and let’s go!” I picture him throwing his lunch into a little backpack and racing out the door to see Jesus.
Seeing the approaching crowd, Jesus asks, “Where are we going to get food for everyone?” Scripture portrays the disciples in a bit of frenzy, comparing the cost of one bite per person to eight months of wages. That’s absurd. What seems crazier is that the boy believed he could make a difference by offering his homemade lunch.
This is how I know a mother was involved here. First, we all know that no lunch makes it out of the house without a mom’s reminder. And secondly, if you’ve raised boys, you know they aren’t too keen on giving away food they’re planning to devour. There had to be an intentional mother doing the hard work of character building long before he left the house that day, because when faced with a need, the boy gave what he had.
I doubt he expected Jesus would use his lunch to accomplish one of the greatest miracles recorded in scripture. He was probably behaving as he had been taught. Someone had trained him to be selfless, generous, and faith-filled. Someone had told him Jesus can do more than we ask or imagine. Someone had told him he has purpose. Was that someone his mother?
That kind of generosity and faith is fostered in our homes—before our kids are faced with difficult, life-impacting decisions. The story unfolds in my mind, and I see his mom training him to think of others, to believe in miracles, and to be brave. She was unknowingly preparing him for that day.
Likewise, moms, you’re preparing your kids up to meet Jesus even in the routine and mundane spaces of life, shepherding their hearts to become world-changers. Model for them what it looks like to be faithful in the small things, and lead them to Him every chance you get. He will call them when their hearts are ready to respond.
Jesus took the boy’s small lunch, blessed it, and met the needs of many. Jesus already knew what He was planning to do, even before he asked the disciples for their solution. And he already knows how He is going to use your kids, too. That should settle your nerves today and encourage you to keep moving forward. Keep working behind the scenes, doing everything as unto the Lord. Watch God take your small efforts in motherhood, and bless them to help meet the needs of a lost and dying world.
The mother got no mention in this story because Jesus is the real hero.
About Kim Heinecke
Kim Heinecke wants to live in a world where children listen to the advice of their mothers without question. As a former single mom she’s been encouraging women using her life experiences in parenting, growing in the Word of God and everything in between. When she’s not negotiating with a teenager or wrestling a pre-schooler, you can find her camping in the family RV or pretending to understand sports with her husband and four sons. Read more from Kim at www.TheMomExperiment.com.