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The Presbyterian of the South : [combining the] Southwestern Presbyterian, Central Presbyterian, Southern Presbyterian. [volume] (Atlanta, Ga.) 1909-1931, February 21, 1917, Image 11

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/10021978/1917-02-21/ed-1/seq-11/

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the Passover, when multitudes of peo
ple were on their way to Jerusalem.
The route by which they traveled
would be along the east coast of the
sea of Galilee, and it would be very
easy for them, therefore, to turn aside
to the mountain to which Jesus had re
tired. The great multitude soon gath
ered about the Saviour and he spent
the day in teaching them and in work
ing miracles. So eager had the peo
ple been to follow him, and so inter
ested were they In what he had to say,
that they neither made provision for
food, nor did their hunger make them
leave him that they might go to seek
The miracle which he worked on
this occasion seems to have been con
sidered by the gospel writers one of
the most remarkable of all his mir
acles. It Is the only one which all
four of them give an account of, and
It has some very remarkable features
connected with it.
When Jesus looked upon this great
multitude and knew how they had
been all day without food, he had
compassion upon them, but he real
ized also that their greater need was
that of heavenly food. They appeared
to him as sheep without a shepherd,
having no one to care for them or
give them the bread of life. In order
to try the faith of his disciples, and
at the same time to interest them es
pecially in the miracle which he was
about to perform, he asked Philip
from whence they could buy bread to
feed the multitude. He did this not
for the purpose of gaining informa
tion, but it was to try Philip and see
whether he had faith in him that he
could work the necessary miracle.
Philip does not seem to have thought
of the Saviour's using miraculous
power, and showed that he considered
it impossible to supply that great mul
titude. He said that two hundred
penny worth of bread would not be
enough to give even a little to each
one of them. We must remember that
a penny was the amount paid for
the wages of a day laborer, and prob
ably we would get a little better idea
if we were to think of it as a dollar of
our money. It was not at all probable
that the disciples ever had in their
treasury as much as $200 at a time,
and even if they had the money it
would have been impossible for them
to have bought the bread away up on
the mountain side. Andrew comes
forward and says that there is a lad
there with five barley loaves and two
fishes, but Andrew did not think that
that would amount to anything. But
he was willing to do all that he could
towards helping the Master. These
five barley loaves were really only
five small cakes of bread or biscuit,
and with the fish probably constituted
the little boy's lunch which he had
brought with him that day. He had
probably been so Interested in watch
ing and listening to the Master that
he had forgotten to eat his lunch.
That would account for his having it
at the end of the day. Jesus took this
food brought to him, and told the
disciples to make the people lie down
on the grass just as they would at
their tables at home, for they did not
have chairs to sit in but couches to
lie upon. He ordered that they should
lie down in companies of fifty. This
was done in order that they might be
the more easily served by the disciples,
that none would be overlooked, and
that all might be able to see that the
whole multitude was fed. This of it
self was a great miracle. Any one
who has ever had anything to do with
handling a great crowd knows how
haVd it is to get them to do anything
orderly. To work upon the wills of
these five thousand men and make
them all obedient to his command
showed a very great miraculous pow
Before breaking the bread and the
fish Jesus aBKed a blessing upon it
just as we should always do before be
ginning our meald, and when he had
done this he began to break the bread
and the fish, and gave them to the
disciples. As ho broke them they con
tinued to grow in his hands, and no
matter how many pieces he broke the
supply was never exhausted just as
was the case with the widow's meal
barrel and oil cruse. Wo are told
that the whole multitude had all that
they wanted, and when they had fin
ished eating the Saviour told the dis
ciples to gather up the broken pieces
which had not been destroyed and
they filled twelve baskets full of
One of the special lessons for us to
learn from this passage is that the
Saviour can take even the little that
we have, no mattor what It is, and use
it to accomplish his work, and his
work is always great. It was the rod
that Moses had in his hand when God
called him that God used to work
many great miracleB. God never calls
upon us to use what we do not have
but does call upon us to use whatever
we have no matter whether it seems to
us to be great or small. Another lesson
that we may learn is that of taking
care of what we have and not wasting
it. The disciples might have said that
there was no use in saving what had
been left over as everybody had had
enough, but Jesus told them to take
care of the fragments.
John 6:1-21.
By Rev. T. M. Hunter.
There is an organization of boys
In our country whose motto Is "Be
Prepared." Their aim is to be ready
for any service or helpfulness to which
they may be called. They are taught
that honor, fame and position do not
come to men by chance, but they are
for those who are fit and prepared to
This principle of preparedness is
found not only among Boy Scouts, but
has been in operation since the world
began, and the incident of this lesson
of the little lad who was ready when
the Master needed him is but one of
many that we can find in the Scrip
tures. There were thousands who
were not prepared for this emergency,
but there was one boy who had left
home that morning, not knowing
when he would be back, and had made
preparation in case he should find
himself or others in need.
The Master had taken his disciples
across the lake for rest and instruction
and prayer. The crowd had outrun
him and met him on the other side,
whether they were mere curiosity
seekers or whether they were hunger
ing after more of the wonderful teach
ing of this wonderful man, we do not
know. But the Master, moved with
compassion for these people, who
were as sheep without a shepherd,
taught them until late in the after
Knowing they were far from a food
supply, and that they had been all day
without refreshment, and that there
were many women and children among
them, he asked Philip, who was prob
ably a shrewd business man, "Where
shall we find food, that these may
eat?" Jesus knew, but he wished to
prove Philip and to give him an op
portunity to confess his inability and
to throw himself upon the power of
Jesus. But Philip failed and made an
estimate of the cost of food. Another
disciple, Andrew, the apostle of the
canny Scot, supplemented Philip's an
swer by stating the exact resources of
the disciples. "There f.s a lad here,
which hath five barley loaves and two
small fishes; but what are they among
so many?" But it was enough for
Jesus and he fed the multitude with
this small store.
Around this little lad, the only pre
pared one, the imagination of the
Church has played, beautiful stories
have been written of him and marvel
ous legends have grown about him.
Some say that he became a bishop,
but the mitre adds nothing, but rather
subtracts, from the beauty of the pic
ture. Some say his name was Theos
ophorus, a great father of the Church;
but what a* shame to put such a name
on this little fellow. Well, would it
have been if the boy had been left as
the Saviour left him and nothing had
been added to that which the evangel
ist wrote.
Some say he was Simon's son. The
probability is that he belonged to their
company, a lad who worked in the
boat that had brought them across,
because in the accounts of the other
evangelists, no mention Is made of him
and the loaves and fishes are spoken
of as belonging to the store of the dis
No doubt the disciples had brought
their own lunch, but not expecting to
stay so long, had eaten it. The lad
had saved his and now that it was
needed he was willing that the Master
should have it, and he ran to the boat
and looked under the seat and gave
all of it to the Master.
There was no excuse for the pov
erty of it, he was not ashamed of the
dark barley bread which was all his
mother could give him. He did not
save out one biscuit, for fear he would
be hungry later on; but what he had
he gave and his gift plus the Master's
power was all-sufficient.
The majority of us are neither rich,
nor great, nor noble, but just such
humble, unknown persons. Very few
of us have more than little gifts to
offer; but in Jesus' hands they become
big and overabundant. It is by" the
little gifts, the things that are de
spised, the things that are nothing
that he has saved the world. The two
mites of the widow, he has made to
bring millions Into the treasury. The
The preacher might say that, in the
revival services there was nobody
saved but little Bobby Morrison, but
the Master took this little lad who
had put himself in his hands and mul
tiplied his loaves and fishes until he
became the great apostle to the heath
en world.
He will not ask, when he comes,
how great or how small were our en
dowments, whether we had one talent
or ten; but only how we have used
them. By this test the boy stood.
This miracle would have been in
complete without the lad. Had it not
been for the women and children, the
miracle need not have been wrought.
The strong men could have hustled
for themselves. The boy and the
child have a very important place in
the economy of the world; Jesus al
ways reserved the best places in the
kingdom for them In this case the
lad was Just as important as Andrew,
Peter, James or John.
The little lad is more important
and has a bigger work to do in the
world than the man. The man of
forty has come to the height of his
usefulness, we know what he has done,
what he will probabily do. His char
acter is fixed and there is more past
than future. But with the lad, we do
not know what will happen to his
loaves and fishes, and it is the busi
ness of the State and the Church to
do all ^hey can to help multiply his
gifts. So his presence makes us en
act laws for the suppression of vice,
for his education. If there were no
one to consider but grown folks, many
of our best laws would never have
been made, we would not be so care
ful and we would not be so good.
It ii because of the little lad that
we have so many of the great philan
thropic efforts that have blessed the
world. The little neglected lad was
the beginning of the modern Sunday
school. The Y. M. C. A. Is not con
ducted for grown folks, but for the
little lad who is coming to young
manhood. The Boy Scout movement
is but a great effort to multiply the
"good turn" of the little lad so that
it might refresh the multitude.
And then there Is so much that the
little lad can do to make the world
happier and better; little things that
older folks despise, but which In the
Master's hands will make him a bless
ing to his home and community. He
can fill so many wants. Teach him
that his honor must be such that it
can bo trusted at all times; that loy
alty is a gift that must be cultivated,
loyalty to his father, mother, home
and country. Teach him that he must
be true to God and his Saviour. Teach
him courtesy, obedience, thrift. Teach
him to keep himself physically strong
mentally awake and morally straight.
Teach him to do his good turn every
day, beginning at home. If every
boy were taught these things, how his
loaves and fishes would be multiplied.
The very trees would clap their hands
because they had a friend who knew
them; the birds would sing more
sweetly because he would love them,
the dog would be happier because he
must be kind to animals. The whole
world would be refreshed because it
had such little lads in it.
When this little lad looked with
widening eyes upon his fishes doing
the work of thousands and each loaf
feeding a thousand men, I believe
he felt that he was of some conse
quence In the world. I believe that
he ran home fast to tell about his
wonderful friend. I cannot conceive
of his being ashamed of him. And
so if the boys were taught that they
are needed and their little gifts neces
sary to the happiness of the world and
that Jesus, their best friend, needs
them, I think they will not be ashamed
to tell about him, to stand by him,
to be loyal to him who so loved the
children and who as a little lad was
found about his Father's business.
Baton Rouge, La.
M., Feb. 2ft. God's demand. Mic. fi:0-8.
T., Feb. 27. Serving men. Mark. 10:3S-45.
W., Feb. 28. Undivided service. Luke 16:1-13.
T., Mar. 1. Serving a servant. 1 Kings 19:19
F., Mar. 2. Serving Christ. Eph. fl:l-9.
S., Mar. 3. Reward of service. 2 Tim. 4:S-8.
8., Mar. 4. Topic ? Service. J as. 1:19-27. (Con
secration meeting.)
Why should we serve Christ ?
What services can tre perform ?
How does service help to derelop the servant ?
God's Demand, Mlc. 6:6-8:. God
calls upon all of us to serve Him. It
is in order that we may do this that
He has given us whatever talents we
The service that God wants is not
mere outward form. The Jews might
offer sacrifices, Just as we may give
gifts and perform other outward acts
of worship, and yet render no service
to God. This passage gives three
characteristics of true and acceptable
service. (1) "Do justly." Be true
and juBt In all that we do. Be Just
towards God, rendering Him all the
service He requires of us. Be just
to our fellowmen. In dealing with
them to observe the Golden Rule. We
ought to be just to ourselves, espe
cially in looking after our spiritual
interests. It is only thus that we can
do our duty to God and to our fellow
men. (2) "Love mercy." Mercy ia
goodness shown to the undeserving.
As we do good to others regardless of
what they are or what they have done
to us, we are like our Saviour. The
CConthraed era pag* 14.)

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