There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many? John 6:9
When I was growing up, church was my second home. My parents were church leaders, and we went whenever the doors were opened. Sunday mornings and evenings for services and classes, Monday afternoons for handbells, Wednesday night for choir, missions activities and prayer meeting, Fridays and Saturdays for youth group. That left only Tuesdays and Thursdays free for music lessons and girl scouts. Church was a place to meet and learn about God, and a community center and the seat of our social calendar. I have fond memories of those years and the friendships I made. The way loving, caring adults poured blessings over us and invested their time into making me who I am today. Last weekend, I had a chance to relieve some of those memories as Glen and I took my dad to the church’s 90th anniversary celebration. Though the church has moved locations and the building that I remember no longer exists, many of the people still do. I met old friends and Sunday School teachers and was reminded of their influence in my life. The best part of the day was listening to people tell my dad how much influence he had over them. “You gave me my first job”, “You introduced me to Christ”, “You helped me decide to be a missionary.” My dad soaked up the praise and attention. When I die, I want a Methodist funeral service where there is time for people to stand and tell stories about the deceased. But, how much better to tell the person who impacted you now when you can tell them face to face and they can enjoy hearing that their life and work, no matter how insignificant they thought it was, made an impact. I am reading Melanie Shankle’s book, “The Church of the Small Things: The Million Little Pieces That Make Up a Life.” In her book, Shankle talks about how an ordinary, everyday life is significant. The cookies baked, the laundry washed, the covered dish delivered, the baby rocked, the kindness offered. She uses the story of the Five Loaves and Two Fishes as an example. We talk about the miracle Jesus did, the little boy’s willingness to share, the disciples who didn’t have enough faith, but we fail to recognize the important role of the mother who packed the lunch and made sure her boy did not forget it as he rushed out the door to see Jesus. One of the speakers at the celebration service recognized my mom who could not be there as she is still in the hospital. He said, “As a pastor now, whenever I am asked a question about Vacation Bible School, I think, ‘What would Miz Bayless do?’” A small thing (well, not such a small thing when you are in the middle of VBS), done well, still making an impact on people years later. Let’s do the small things. Let’s also remember to thank those who did the small, but significant, things for us.