“Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” (John 6:9)
Hospitality is not my forte. I love to plan parties, decorate cakes and daydream about giving my mantel a trendy makeover—but when it comes to executing these crafty ambitions, my klutzy side takes over.
I’d always considered this a shortcoming. But then my daughter and I read a story in her children’s Bible that shifted my thinking. It was the miracle of Jesus feeding five thousand people with one boy’s lunch.
“What’s special about this story?” I asked my five-year-old.
“Ummm. . . the boy gave Jesus his fish?”
“Yes, the boy was very kind to share his fish and bread with everyone,” I nodded. “But what did Jesus do with it?”
“He made it grow bigger so everybody could eat.”
“Yes! Isn’t that amazing? The lunch basket wasn’t magic. The boy wasn’t magic. But Jesus has super powers. He is the star of this story.”
Ahhhh. My daughter got the picture just as a light bulb went off in my own head.
Sometimes I’m like that little boy.
I want to host a play group, but my house is too small.
I can’t possibly have the Bible study meet in my living room. They’ll trip over the trampoline.
I’d love to invite some ladies over for tea and crumpets, but I don’t know what a crumpet is and I’m pretty sure I’d burn them if I found a recipe.
What if they judge my living room walls plastered with school art projects? Does the kitchen smell like last night’s garlic sauce? When was the last time I dusted the light fixtures? Aaaaaaaack! Too much pressure! Shut the fridge and lock the doors! I can’t take it anymore!
But so what? Maybe just the thing Jesus needs in order to feed the multitudes is my wimpy basket. Host the play date anyway. Serve the Bible study snacks on the trampoline. Skip those crumpets and buy donut holes. I’m so easily embarrassed by my hospitality deficiencies that I forget God can transform my meager offering into something bigger, better, beyond imagination. The wow factor is his job, not mine.
The issue isn’t really my lack of hostess flair. It’s pride. Oh yes, let’s just call it what it is. There’s the kind of pride we take in great accomplishments, and then there’s the pride of self-consciousness, the fear of not measuring up. Either way, pride shines a spotlight on me rather than on the One who made me—klutzy, yet with a purpose.
Back to the story of the boy and his lunch. Jesus didn’t just feed people’s bellies, you know. He filled their souls. Let’s not miss the fact that he didn’t actually need that starter batch of fish and loaves in order to work a miracle. Jesus can create those out of thin air. Could it be he wants to use our ordinary gifts and steps of faith to launch great things? How can I let my pride get in the way of that?
“I think we should invite some friends over to play next week,” I told my daughter as we closed her Bible for the night. “We could have a special snack.”
“Oo, I know!” Her eyes lit up. “Chocolate cake with marshmallows?”
“Well,” I smiled and kissed her forehead. “I was thinking something else. How about donut holes?”