For most of my life, I've been inspired by the story of the boy with 5 loaves and 2 fish. Jesus takes his meager offering and feeds 5000 people.
Inspiring story! And it's all about me: I have little to offer, but Jesus takes my pathetic offering and multiplies it. Yay!
But tonight I was forced to rethink my identification with that boy.
You see, we had fish for dinner. And we live in a slum.
Afterwards, as we sometimes do, we gave our leftover fish to one of the neighbors. This neighbor was excited to receive our fried fish. Every day she walks the streets collecting cans and bottles, which she recycles for a pitiful amount of cash. She lives a hard life - a tough hand-to-mouth existence.
She scrapes by.
And then I got to thinking about the fish we had left over. There were probably 10 pieces of fried fish left over from our meal to feed a family of four. Probably more than usual, because our kids decided they suddenly don't like fish. So neither of them ate much.
And I got to wondering - imagine what my neighbor is thinking...
"Why would those foreigners cook so much fish? How could they mis-calculate by 10 pieces of fish? Who cooks so much fish for one small family? Expensive fish too!"
And I suddenly realized, I'm not that boy. I don't have a meager amount to offer. I DON'T have 5 loaves and 2 fish.
I have a ridiculous amount.
I have crap-loads of fish, and steak, and chicken, and nice food in general. I have a cupboard and fridge full of food. I never go hungry. In fact, I have to watch my weight because I have too much delicious food at my fingertips.
I LOVE to identify with the poor in the Bible, but truth is...
I'm not that boy.
But, perhaps, just perhaps... if I'm open to the Spirit, I can be inspired by him.
When the disciples picked up the leftovers that day, there were 12 baskets full.
I'm starting to wonder if a few people with crap-loads of bread and bags-full of delicious fish got seriously INSPIRED by a little boy that day. Perhaps, his generosity sparked a heart response in some of the folks with a lot more to offer.
I need that. Most of us affluent types do.
Now THAT would be an amazing miracle. A miracle that might just change the world.