Ten-year-old Joshua walked down the main street of Bethsaida, his sandals kicking up the dry dirt behind him. The sun beat down upon Joshua, but there was a slight breeze for which he was thankful. Underneath his arm was a little box, which held the food his parents had given him for the day. Continuing his walk down the street, Joshua watched the people. They seemed more excited than normal. Many were chatting quickly to one another and everyone was headed in the same direction. Several people were closing up shop; which was odd, seeing as it wasn't even afternoon yet.
"Excuse me, sir. What is going on? Where is everyone headed? And why are you closing so early in the day?" Joshua asked one man, who was quickly closing up his small bakery.
"Haven't you heard? The man called Jesus is here! We are all going to see Him," replied the man as he ran down the street.
Jesus! Joshua had heard of Him. He had heard stories of Him healing the sick and wounded. He had heard of great miracles this man accomplished. He was called a great teacher, a prophet. Some even said He was the Son of God!
Quickly Joshua followed everyone else. As he left the city and entered the countryside, he was shocked to see streams of people coming from all around headed towards the sea of Galilee. Joshua was lost among a crowd of thousands as he continued his journey onward.
Soon, the people in front of Joshua stopped moving. Up ahead, he could hear someone's voice. Craning his neck back and forth, he tried to see the speaker, but to no avail. He was too short to see past the human wall in front of him. Exasperated, he slowly slipped around the people, making his way to the front of the group. When he emerged, Joshua finally was able to see the man Jesus along with his twelve disciples.
Joshua sat down on the soft grass, laying his box of food between his feet. The Man didn't look anything out of the ordinary, but His teachings were beyond anything Joshua had ever heard from the scribes. He sat there for hours, eagerly absorbing in the wisdom that came from Jesus's mouth. Many sick and wounded began to walk up to Jesus, who healed them to the astonishment of everyone. Joshua knew this Man surely was the Son of God!
As the hours went by, the people began to hunger. However, no one wanted to leave, for they were afraid they might miss some mighty teaching or miracle. The disciples knew the people must be weary, and tried to persuade Jesus to command the people to leave. After a short conversation with Jesus, the disciples began to spread among the people, asking if anyone had any food to share.
Joshua looked down at the box beside his feet, then opened it. Inside were two fish and five little loaves of bread. He could offer it to the disciples, but what good would so little do? It would seem wiser to look out for himself and eat it. Why should he give it away? Joshua wrestled with his conscience as he tried to figure out what to do. Surely there was some farmer or baker among the crowd that had plenty of food to share. But as Joshua watched the disciples ask around, it seemed no one had anything to give. He looked back down at the box again.
"Does anyone have any food they can share?" boomed a voice in front of the startled Joshua. He looked up to see the disciple called Andrew standing in front of him. Joshua looked around, but everyone was quiet. After another brief mental wrestle, he knew what he should do.
"I do," Joshua replied, standing up. "It's not much, but it's all I have." Joshua handed the box to Andrew. He was tempted to keep a loaf or two for himself; to ensure he would be able to eat something. After all, it was his food that his parents gave him. But Joshua decided to hand over the whole box.
Andrew took it, then returned to Jesus and gave it to Him. Jesus had everyone sit on the ground as He blessed the food. The twelve disciples lined up, each with a basket to distribute what they could.
Joshua slumped down. How could they disperse so little food among so many people? There were easily over five thousand people here. Why, little Joshua himself could eat it all and still want for more. Perhaps he should have kept it. What was he thinking?
But then the people around him began to murmur and gasp. Joshua looked up in surprise. Three of the disciples already had full baskets, and Jesus was filling the fourth. He kept pulling food out of Joshua's little box! Soon, all twelve baskets were full. When the disciples gave out what they had, they returned to Jesus, who filled the baskets again. Joshua couldn't understand how his little bit of sacrifice had turned into so much. It was impossible!
After a while, one of the disciples headed to the group that Joshua sat with. Joshua recognized Andrew as he knelt in front of Joshua.
"Here you go, young man. Thank you for your willingness to give what you had. If you want more, I'm sure there will be enough." he smiled as he handed Joshua his box. Joshua stared in shock as he opened it up. There was more inside than he had to begin with!
Gratefully, he ate the food while he silently praised God. When everyone was done eating, there were still twelve baskets of food leftover. Joshua would never forget this day. As he headed home, he thought about what would happen if he hadn't given his food. What if he hadn't been willing? What if he had been selfish and kept it for himself? He would have never seen the great miracle that happened that day. He wouldn't have been used by God. The thousands of people there wouldn't have been blessed by the food he offered. But it all did happen, simply because Joshua was willing to give what he had to Jesus. Joshua sped up his pace for home. He couldn't wait to tell his family!
It doesn't matter what few talents you have or what little you possess. If you give it all to God, He can use it in ways that you never could have imagined!