The Boy Who Shared His Lunch: A Reflection on Selflessness and Generosity
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The Boy Who Shared His Lunch: A Reflection on Selflessness and Generosity


One of the most well-known stories in the Gospels is the account of a young boy who generously shared his lunch with Jesus and a crowd of thousands. This act of selfless giving has inspired Christians for centuries to follow the boy’s example and share what we have with others. In this post, we will take a close look at this story, reflect on its key messages and lessons, and discuss how we can apply them to our lives today.

Key Takeaways:

  • Selflessness and generosity are virtues we should all seek to cultivate.
  • God can multiply even our small gifts and contributions for His purposes.
  • By giving to others, we reflect Christ’s love and compassion.
  • Sharing with those in need demonstrates faith and trust in God’s provision.
  • We must offer what we have, even if it doesn’t seem like much. God honors faithful obedience.

The Story of the Boy Who Shared His Lunch

The story is found in all four Gospels (Matthew 14:13-21, Mark 6:30-44, Luke 9:10-17, John 6:1-15). While each account differs slightly in the details, they all recount the same narrative.

Jesus had been teaching, preaching, and healing the sick. After a long day, He sought to retreat with His disciples to rest. But a large crowd followed them, eager to see more miracles and hear Jesus’ words. Jesus had compassion on them and healed the sick until it grew late.

The disciples became concerned that the people had not eaten all day and suggested that Jesus send them away to buy food. But Jesus presented them with what seemed like an impossible situation – they were in a remote place with no markets nearby and needed to feed a crowd of five thousand people.

At that moment, Andrew, one of Jesus’ disciples said:

“There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?” (John 6:9 NKJV)

Though Andrew could only see scarcity, Jesus saw an opportunity. He instructed the disciples to bring the boy’s lunch to Him. Jesus blessed the food, broke the loaves, and divided the fish. As He began passing pieces to the disciples to distribute, the food miraculously multiplied. Soon there was enough to feed the entire multitude with baskets of leftovers.

Through the generosity of one boy to share his modest meal, Jesus performed a remarkable miracle, providing food for thousands and revealing His divine nature.

Reflecting on the Key Lessons

This powerful story provides us with several important lessons on selflessness, generosity, faith, and giving. Let’s take a moment to reflect on a few key points.

Selflessness: Looking Beyond Our Own Needs

The boy in this account could have reasonably chosen to keep his food for himself. After all, he had brought just enough for his own lunch. Yet when Jesus needed it to feed the multitude, the boy freely gave up what was his.

As followers of Christ, we are called to look beyond our own interests and needs to see how we can serve God and bless others. The boy sets an example of selflessness – not insisting on holding onto something for himself, but releasing it for a greater purpose.

Generosity: Freely Giving What We Can

The boy also exemplifies generous giving. Out of his modest lunch, he contributed all that he had. It was not much – only five loaves and two fish. But the boy did not withhold even a small portion; he generously surrendered it all.

God honors those who give freely and liberally from their hearts. As believers, we are not measured by the quantity we give but the willingness and spirit in which we give it. We can have confidence that when we generously give as the boy did, God will multiply the offering.

Faith: Believing God Can Use Our Gifts

As a child, the boy likely did not comprehend exactly what Jesus was going to do with his simple meal. Yet he gave it up in faith, trusting it into Jesus’ hands. The boy’s actions demonstrate a humility and faith that what little we have can still be used by God for great purposes.

It’s easy to feel that our own contributions or resources are too small, too inadequate to make a difference. But this story shows that by offering them in faith to Jesus, He has the power to transform even our meager gifts for His glory.

Giving: Sharing with Those in Need

Finally, the boy teaches us about compassionately giving to meet needs. When he realized there were thousands of hungry people and Jesus wanted to feed them, the boy readily shared his food. He maintained an outward focus, recognizing the needs of others and responding in love.

As God blesses us, we must avoid the temptation to use His provision only for ourselves. When we see others around us in need – whether physically, emotionally, or spiritually – we are called to share with generous and open hands, just as the boy did.

In summary, the boy’s actions model for us selfless, generous, faith-filled and compassionate giving. What a remarkable example from such a young boy!

Applying the Lessons to Our Lives

Reflecting on this account, you may be asking yourself, how can I cultivate the boy’s spirit of selflessness and generosity in my own life? Here are a few practical applications to consider:

Examine your heart’s motivations

Take time to examine what motivates you to meet needs around you. Are you eager to help others from a sincere spirit of compassion? Or do you only help when convenient or to receive praise and credit? Pray that God would give you a generous heart that seeks to serve others, not self.

Look for ways to share your gifts and resources

Begin to look at what you have – your time, abilities, knowledge, possessions – as resources God wants to use through you to bless others. Ask God to show you tangible ways you can share these gifts, even if they seem small. Remember that He can multiply them!

Don’t let fear of lack keep you from giving

It’s easy to hold onto what we have out of fear that we won’t have enough for ourselves. But this story teaches us that when we honor God through faithful giving, He promises to provide for our needs too. Don’t let fear of lack prevent generosity.

Step out in faith

Be willing to give and serve even when you don’t see how your contributions can be used. Trust that God sees the bigger picture and has the power to multiply your gifts for great purposes, just as with the boy’s lunch. Take steps of faith to share generously even when you can’t predict the outcome.

Meet pressing needs around you

Look for people and situations where there are pressing needs that you may be able to help meet – the hungry, homeless, widowed, sick or elderly. Seek to share your time and resources, through volunteering, donating goods, or providing financial assistance. Your generosity can be the hands and feet of Jesus.

As you reflect on the example of the generous boy, may it inspire you to live with more openness of heart and hands. When we freely give what we have received from God, He will use our gifts to bless others. We can trust Him to multiply our small offerings for His glory.


The simple yet profound story of the boy who shared his lunch has much to teach us about cultivating Christ-like generosity and selflessness. My hope is that reflecting on this account will help inspire greater obedience and faith when God calls us to meet needs around us. No gift is too small when placed into the hands of Jesus!

As we strive to follow the boy’s example, may we experience the joy that comes from giving freely without thought of return. And may we see God multiply our humble offerings to bless people in ways that only He can. Just imagine what God can do with whatever we freely place at His disposal!

Pastor Duke Taber
Pastor Duke Taber

Pastor Duke Taber

All articles have been written or reviewed by Pastor Duke Taber.
Pastor Duke Taber is an alumnus of Life Pacific University and Multnomah Biblical Seminary.
He has been in pastoral ministry since 1988.
Today he is the owner and managing editor of 3 successful Christian websites that support missionaries around the world.
He is currently starting a brand new church in Mesquite NV called Mesquite Worship Center, a Non-Denominational Spirit Filled Christian church in Mesquite Nevada.