Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Jack In the Box

     Have you ever noticed that many children's fairy tales and nursery rhymes star a young man named Jack?  There is nimble Jack who jumps over a candlestick.  Vegetarian Jack Sprat, who eats no fat.  Jack and Jill; poor Jack gets a concussion in that one.  Carpenter Jack who built a house.  Then there is Jack and the Giant Killer, Jack and the Beanstalk, Little Jack Horner, Jack Frost, Jack-o'-lantern, and of course, Jack in the Box.
     Like a Jack in the Box, bursting suddenly from obscurity, Jack stories usually begin with a naive, but honest, young man who makes what appears to be a very bad decision, which somehow turns out exactly right, not only for him, but for everyone around him.  Jack is the hero who somehow saves the day.  Jack brings a new perspective to the situation.  Jack is the person who thinks "outside of the box."
     In John 6, we read an account about the feeding of the five thousand.  The feeding of the five thousand is mentioned in all four of the gospels.  Here is the story, edited for time.
     Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee...and a great crowd of people followed Him because they saw the miraculous signs he had performed on the sick.  Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down  with His disciples.  The Jewish Passover feast 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 looked at all of the people, considered the amount of money they had, and told Jesus to tell everyone to go home.  They could not possibly feed all of them.
     In the midst of that huge crowd of thousands of people - rich people, important people, grown-up people, Pharisees, Saducees and fishermen, was a little boy.  The boy had tucked into his lunch box "five small barley loaves and two small fish."  Andrew brought this small boy to Jesus.  Andrew and the boy were certainly thinking outside of the confines of that lunch box.  They came to Jesus with the expectation that He could do something with the little they had.  They did not set a limitation on what God can do with what He has been given.
     The little boy and Andrew were not disappointed.  Jesus told everyone to sit.  He broke the bread, blessed it and handed it over to the disciples to feed the people.  In the end, there were twelve baskets left over.  The crowd wanted to make Jesus their earthly King.  Jesus, however, wanted to be the King of their hearts.  He wanted to be the King of their future.
     Sometimes we limit what God can do.  We put Him in a box so that we can understand Him better.  I stand impressed by a simple child's faith and my Saviors willingness and ability to supply for all of our needs.  Imagine what would happen, if we, like that little boy, put our limited resources into the hands of Jesus.
     I wonder if the boy's name was Jack.

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