April 18, 2022

Check back each Monday for a short devotional to help you start the week off well.

“Another one of his disciples, Andrew, who was Simon Peter’s brother, said, “There is a boy here who has five loaves of barley bread and two fish. But they will certainly not be enough for all these people.”

“Make the people sit down,” Jesus told them. (There was a lot of grass there.) So all the people sat down; there were about five thousand men. Jesus took the bread, gave thanks to

God, and distributed it to the people who were sitting there. He did the same with the fish, and they all had as much as they wanted.” (John 6:9-11)

April is designated as the month of the Military Child. The Department of Defense recognizes that Service Members, their families, and extended families are more than just the sum of their parts. Each one is important, and each one has a role.

It is important that we in the Military recognize the unheralded sacrifices routinely made by the children around us, and should find ways to express our personal gratitude to them. They have to go from school to school, from familiar to unfamiliar, giving up old friends in the hopes of making new ones, and often having to live far away from supportive extended family. Even if we have no children of our own, we most likely have nieces, nephews, grandchildren, or even friends with children. They are worth celebrating. And they just may bring us a blessing.

In our Bible verses, it is a child who responds to the call of Jesus to help him feed the large crowd who came to hear him preach. The barley bread and small fish indicate that the boy is poor, and these might have been the only meal of the day for him. However, it was more important for him to give his lunch to Jesus in faith than it was for him to worry about his hunger. We can learn much from this young lad who demonstrated such simple childlike faith. He was willing to sacrifice all that he had just because Jesus asked. What an example for us!

His gift to Jesus seemed meager to the disciples, and probably would to most of the world. But things have a way of growing in significance when we let them go and give them freely to our Lord. Is there something we are holding on to that Jesus is asking us to give to him?

Thanks to the unselfish act of a child, the crowd witnessed an incredible miracle, and were abundantly fed. May this month of the Military Child remind us that God works his miracles in surprising ways, even encouraging us through the simple acts of children.

My Lord, as this child offered you all that he had, so I offer you all that I have. Also, help me to show my appreciation for Military children as they make the most of their sacrifices as they follow their parent in military service. Amen.