One of my favorite things to do is read stories in the Bible that I remember from when I was a kid. Growing up in church as a pastor’s kid, I’ve seen my share of Bible stories acted out, put on a felt board, or shared from a puppet.

But don’t be fooled. While they are incredible stories that can captivate kids & make Jesus real to them, it’s also solid truth from God’s Word. And no matter how many felt board or puppet versions I’ve seen, God always manages to teach me something new.

For the last week, I’ve been studying the Feeding of the 5,000. Granted, it’s one of my favorites, but it’s also one of the stories that made it into all 4 Gospel accounts – Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:30-44; Luke 9:10-17, and John 6:1-14. (If God made a story appear in the Bible 4 times, it just might be important!)

Here are my top takeaways during this season as a young mother: (Warning: Each of these may become their own blogs in the next few weeks.)

People are watching how we respond during hard times.

John the Baptist was Jesus’ cousin. He was the one who baptized Jesus. They were close, not just as relatives, but because they were on the same mission. In fact, Jesus even said “there is no one greater than John” (Luke 7:28). So the news of his beheading was so much for Jesus that he withdrew from the crowds to a boat to get away with the disciples.

But it was when the boat landed on the other side of the shore that the multitudes appeared. To share their condolences? I doubt it. I can’t help but think that those who were curious about the authenticity of Jesus came out of the woodworks to see how Jesus would respond in tragedy. And he responded by welcoming them, sharing God with them & meeting their needs (Luke 9:11).

God can take our little to do much.

I highly doubt that little boy intended to be part of a miracle that day. I bet he didn’t expect Jesus to be able to take his small lunch & feed everyone in the crowd.

But he was willing to say, “This is what I’ve got, Lord. And if you can use it, it’s yours.”

Are there areas of your life you’ve been holding back from God because it’s not enough? Because you think there’s no way He could ever use something so small & insignificant?

Christine Caine puts it this way:

“If the little boy had kept his lunch, it would have remained little. In the same way, if we keep our little, it will remain little. But when we give our little to God, He can take our limits & multiply it in His limitless power.”

Don’t keep your little. Give it to God, and let Him do much.

Mundane mom tasks are ministry.

For the last week, I’ve packed Noah’s lunch with less pout & more purpose. While we don’t know anything about her, I sure like to use my imagination thinking about the mom who perhaps packed that little boy’s lunch that day.

Maybe there was a special tug in her heart that made her whisper an extra prayer over her little boy for boldness while she packed the food. Or maybe she was having an overwhelmed moment and begged God to remind her that what she does matters. We’ll never know this side of heaven.

But regardless of who packed the lunch, someone in his household led that little boy to trust Jesus. I have three boys (one big, two little) in my house, and none of them get excited about the idea of sharing their food.

But that little boy knew giving to Jesus & making a personal sacrifice was the right thing to do. He learned that from someone. Never allow yourself to believe the lie that investing in a child is a secondary purpose. Motherhood is a high calling & not for sissies.

If you give it, He won’t waste it.

In Luke 6:12, Jesus instructs the disciples to gather up the leftover food so none would be wasted. (That’s right – 5,000 men + women + children + 5 loaves + 2 fish = leftovers. Crazy.)

I’ll be honest. God doesn’t need us. He will accomplish our purpose with or without us. If we don’t, the rocks will cry out (Luke 19:40).

But if we’re willing, He will use us & allow us to be a part of His purpose. His purpose becomes our purpose.

Just give it to Him — your past, your ability, your mistakes, your future — and He’ll do so much with it that you’ll never even know its full reach.

What’s one of your favorite childhood Bible stories you love reading as an adult?