August 20, 2013
"There’s a young boy here with five barley loaves and two fish. But what good is that with this huge crowd?" John 6:9
Yesterday was one of those days. One of those days when I feel tempted to resent the fact that I stay at home to raise our kids. I realize that shocks many of you. But I didn't grow up dreaming about how many children I would one day raise. I always assumed I would have children, because having children is something most married people do, but as a child and young adult I filled my imagination with thoughts of earning a paycheck. Why else would I labor through five-and-a-half years of school in a male-dominant field of study if not to become financially self-sufficient?
I do not travel to the land of resentment very often nor do I stay in that dreary place very long but I do take the occasional day-trip, tempting myself to believe that I would find greater self-worth if I had a job which brought home a paycheck. I love my kids and I want to serve as their daily caretaker. However, sometimes I allow feelings of inferiority, insignificance and just plain ol' boredom to take rule. Is this all God has for me? I question. Isn't there something more I can do? I ponder. And then God in His goodness reminds me of His perspective.
Remember the story of Jesus feeding 5,000? Overcome by grief over the gruesome death of His cousin, John the Baptist, Jesus attempts to retreat for some alone time with His disciples. But the crowds follow Jesus. Seeing the crowd Jesus "had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So He began teaching them many things" (Mark 6:34).
Evening falls and the 5,000 men and their wives and children grow hungry. Let's feed them, says the Savior. With what, exactly? reply the weary disciples. "Then Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, spoke up. There’s a young boy here with five barley loaves and two fish. But what good is that with this huge crowd?" (John 6:8-9) Jesus takes the boy's lunch and blesses it and uses it to feed the upwards of 15,000 people.
Jesus feeding the masses from the contents of a young boy's lunchkit is one of His great miracles; a story so significant its one of the few accounts which all four gospel writers captured in their books. But someone once encouraged me to consider the story from a different perspective.
What about the faithful mama who packed her little boy's lunchkit that day? A mom who pushed aside feelings of inferiority and insignificance and instead saw to it that her young son had everything he needed before he left home. Jesus blessed what that mama packed in her son's lunchbox and used it to feed thousands and thousands of souls.
The story of Jesus feeding the 5,000 causes me to realize that I have a chance each day to pack my children's lunchkits. Now, one beauty of homeschooling is that I do not have to pack actual lunchkits. Come lunchtime, we simply raid the kitchen. But I do have the opportunity to pack my children's spiritual lunchbox. I have the chance, indeed, the duty--homeschooling or not--to train my children in the way they should go (Proverbs 22:6). And prayerfully one day Jesus will bless what I packed in my children's lunchkit and use it to feed thousands and thousands of souls.
I think not.
Rather than spending one more day in the land of resentment I think I'll head into the hallways of motherhood to see what I can pack into my child's lunchkit today.