Here we have another one of those stories where there is no mention made of this woman in the Scriptures at all. We are only left to speculate about her existence. But if you will allow me the opportunity to do so I think that I can show you some very interesting things about this woman.
Turn with me to the gospel of John, the sixth chapter and verse 9, "There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?"
What are they among so many? What indeed? This is the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000. It is found in all four of the gospels. Of all the miracles that Jesus performed, other than raising from the dead, this is perhaps the greatest. This is a miracle that no one else could repeat. We read in the Bible of the disciples and even Paul healing many people from various diseases and afflictions, and even casting out demons, but nowhere do we see anyone else performing this miracle. And not only once; for Jesus does it again when he feeds a crowd of 4,000 people a short time later.
It has been said this story is about a little lad; a little lunch; a great big Lord and a whole lot of leftovers. But we are not going to look at what Jesus did or even what the little boy did. We are going to look at what this little boy's mother did.
His mother? She is not even mentioned in the story. No, she is not but she is there nevertheless. You just have to look for her.
The Bible doesn't say how old this lad was. But according to Unger's Bible Dictionary (Merrill F. Unger, Copyright c 1957, 1961, 1966 by the Moody Bible Institute of Chicago) a lad is a term applied to the young from the time of infancy to that of adolescence, a youth nearly twenty years old.
Now what this young boy was doing that day the Bible does not say. All we know is that a great crowd had gathered to see Jesus because He had just spent some time healing many people and the news spread like wildfire. This boy was a part of that great throng.
I don't believe this boy was a shepherd because he wouldn't have left the care of his sheep and wandered off like he did. Shepherd boys, like David, lived with their sheep. They knew each one by name. They were the only protection the sheep had. And we know that this boy was close enough to where Jesus was for the disciples to see him.
We don't want to speculate too much on what is not written in the Bible but one thing we do know is that this boy had food with him. Perhaps he was going on a journey and needed food to sustain him for a period of time. It seems that he was the only one there that day who did have food for the disciples told Jesus that the people would have to go into town to buy bread. So where did this lad get the food he had?
I believe that his mother packed him a lunch that day and sent him off on his business. Maybe he was on an errand for her. We don't know. We do know that his journey took him up into the mountains for we are told in verses 3-5 of our text that Jesus went up into a mountain and a great company "came unto him." This boy was prepared.
This is a mother that loved her son.
She wanted to make sure that he had something to eat on his travels. She sent him away that day with literal physical food, bread and fish, for his body. He found spiritual food, for his soul, when he met the Lord Jesus Christ.
What a blessing for this woman to know that her son met the Lord that day. It should be the hope and prayer of every Christian mother that their children will "come to" and find Jesus Christ as their Saviour. This lad did.
This was a mother who taught her son to share what he had no matter how little it was.
When approached by the disciples to give up his lunch to the Lord he did not hesitate. It is not recorded that they had to beg him, bribe him or pay him for his small meal. He gave it up willingly. What a blessing for this woman to know that the small lunch that she lovingly packed for her son helped to feed over 5,000 men, women and children that day.
This was a mother who taught her son respect for his elders.
Andrew found the boy and brought him to the Lord. Andrew was a soul-winner (John 1:40-42). Andrew added another jewel to his crown that day when he brought the lad to Jesus. This lad went willingly with Andrew to the Saviour.
This is a story of love and compassion. Jesus had compassion on the people. The gospel of Mark says they were as sheep not having a shepherd. Jesus is the great shepherd. Jesus was concerned about the people being hungry because they had been with him a long time and He knew that they needed physical nourishment as well as spiritual food. Jesus gave them bread to eat that day, both physical and spiritual. In John 6:35 Jesus says, " . I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst."
The boy's mother had compassion on her son. She wanted to make sure that he was well prepared for his trip. She was concerned about him being hungry because he would be gone a long time. She gave him bread to eat. Because of the lunch she packed for her son, he too, received the Bread of Life.
This mother sent her son out with a little lunch. It consisted of only 5 barley loaves and two small fish and it was only enough for one person. Yet she supplied the means for Jesus to feed a multitude of people.
She gave what she had: her love, her food and her son to be used of the Master. When we do something out of love and unselfishly we never know what the end result will be or whom we will affect by our actions.
This mother didn't know that her son would meet the Lord that day but she prepared him to, just the same. How important it is for us as mothers to prepare our children to meet the Lord Jesus Christ some day.
This was a mother who taught her son to be responsible.
Once this boy met Jesus he immediately began to serve Him. It was only 5 barley loaves and two small fish but he gave all that he had to the Lord. Once our children are saved they should immediately begin to serve the Lord. There is no age restriction placed on serving God.
As mothers, are we sending our children out prepared to meet the Saviour or are we depending upon the Sunday school teacher or the Pastor to do it. As mothers, are we teaching our children to have compassion on the poor and the needy. Are we teaching them to give up or share what they have in order to be a blessing to someone else? Are we helping them serve their Saviour? What values have we instilled in our children? Are these values in us?
If a mother has taught her children well, her own values will be seen through the lives of her children. Like this woman, there will be no need for her to make herself known; she will be known through her children.
Remember our Proverbs thirty-one woman? Let's look back at a few verses about her.
(Proverbs 31:20) She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.
(Proverbs 31:28) Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.
(Proverbs 31:30) Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.
(Proverbs 31:31) Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.
The mother in our story was truly a Proverbs thirty-one woman. She taught her son well. How do we measure up?