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  • Writer's pictureMegan Estes

One of My Favorite Moms in the Bible

Decades ago I heard someone talk about a mom in the Bible I had never thought of before--the mom who packed the little boy's lunch which Jesus then used to miraculously feed the crowd of five thousand. An ordinary mama doing her daily grind and serving her family ended up playing a crucial part in one of the miracles of Jesus! Maybe that little boy packed his own lunch; it's possible. One thing's for sure, women back then did most all the baking and cooking, so we can at least assume she made the bread. Either way, let's learn from this mom and see how simple daily duties are actually paramount in our children's lives, as well as the community around us.

little boy's lunch of two fish

Here's our text for today, John 6:1-14

Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the signs he had performed by healing the sick. Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. The Jewish Passover Festival was near.

When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, 9 “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there).

11 Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.12 When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” 13 So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.14 After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.”

Moms in the Bible doing simple chores is powerful

Moms in the Bible Show Us That Daily Tasks Are Powerful

When that little boy's mom made his lunch that day, I highly doubt she was thinking, "people will be talking about my boy and this lunch I just made for thousands of years!" More likely, she was just serving her family and making sure they all had what they needed for the day. Was this mama in a season of rushing through her daily duties, or was she intentional in each task? Did she value her role as a mom of this young boy? Was she energetic and joyful in preparing food for her family? Was she grumpy and tense because she was tired that day? We'll never know. What we do know is this: her selfless act of serving her family by preparing food not only nourished her loved ones, but also nourished an ENTIRE community when it came into the hands of Jesus.

What can we learn from her? We don't have to do something radical in order to bless others in Jesus' name. We can do small things with great love, and God will multiply the outcome! Actually, the truth is, that making daily bread for your family IS radical! Serving those around us and caring for the people God has put in our lives is hard, meaningful work. God works in the mundane moments just as much as He does anywhere else. Even if that little boy's lunch didn't end up in the Master's hands, the labor of love that went into that lunch would have blessed his body with nourishment to grow strong and healthy and be able to have energy to listen to Jesus' teachings on the hill that day. Isn't that enough? Isn't that more than enough? While I'm often tempted to try and "do" and "be" things I think might have greater influence outside the home, I'm reminded that the most important work you'll ever do is within the walls of your home. No one is going to care for, teach, train, or love my kids the way that I have the opportunity to do so. They're mine, a blessing from God. A blessing from the Lord that should not be taken lightly. There's a reason our hearts long to be with our children and no amount of money or prestige will ever fill us up the way closeness with our kids will. I refuse to sacrifice my family on the altar of "I need to go do this other great work for God." Serving God starts at home. The value of a mom loving on her children by taking care of their little bellies with food, their hearts with talks, and their clothes with washing is priceless. These simple daily tasks compound into a lifetime of love, security, safety, and strong kids that have been discipled and ready to seek after God with their own hearts when they leave the nest. Homemaking, simple stated, is a generational investment into the kingdom.

Give everything you have to Jesus

Teaching Our Kids to Give Everything They Have To Jesus

The other takeaway from this section of scripture is the value of trusting God with all that you have. Only the gospel of John records the five loaves and two fish coming from a little boy. However, each gospel records the same amount of food that was gathered--these five little barley loaves and two small fish. Maybe the boy went around collecting this food, maybe it was actually his whole lunch, we'll never know. I'll tell you one thing though, anyone who is a mom of boys knows just how much they LOVE their food. I believe "food" is the first love language of little men! I'm not kidding! My little men are always hungry and ready to eat. The fact that this little boy gave up his lunch tells us that 1. he had been taught radical generosity and 2. he knew he could trust Jesus enough to give Him everything. I bet his mama was proud. The lessons on having a generous heart bore fruit that day. He could have just eaten his lunch or even left the crowd when the disciples had come searching for food. Instead, he gave all he had to Jesus. I want my kids to know that Jesus is good, so we can trust and obey Him just like this little boy did. It may seem insignificant sometimes to give Jesus what little we have some days. Some days I feel as if I don't have much energy, time, food, money, or heart to share. However, I've learned that Jesus can take what little I have and multiply it beyond my wildest dreams. He's taken my tired and weary body on certain days and given me joyful strength. He's taken my little home and made it a place for large community to gather. He's taken what money we have and filled the bellies in our home, as well as our neighbors. He's always showing me that I can trust Him with everything. It's better to hand what little you have over to the savior, rather than hoarding it for yourself.

Moms in the Bible make generational impact


Mama, Jesus sees you. He sees all that you do in public, and all that you do behind closed doors with no recognition. He is working in ways you cannot even fathom! Don't grow weary of doing good. Keep seeking Him for strength on the hard days. Every season of motherhood is a different kind of hard. Whatever season you are in, whatever He has called you to, be all in there. Faithfully, keep giving what you have to your family in the name of Jesus. He will multiply it, generationally. Now that's an impact worth striving for!

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