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Crossroads of the Marine Corps

‘Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader?’

10 Sep 2015 | LT Loren M. Crone, CHC, USN, Chaplain,Marine Corps Embassy Security Group Marine Corps Base Quantico

One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Him, “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish” John 6:8-9 NKJV

There was once a wealthy man who stood up in church to tell his testimony. He told of how God prompted him as a boy to give the only dollar he ever made to the offering plate. Like many of us, when prompted to give, the boy hesitated at first, but knew God had told him to give. So, in faith, he gave all that he had. From that moment on, he confessed that God blessed him beyond his wildest imagination, even to the point of becoming a multi-millionaire. An elderly lady in the back of the church raised her hand, and asked to speak. He obliged. She said, “I bet you won’t do it again!” Our verses tell of a wonderful miracle performed by Jesus. Jesus took this young boy’s two small fish and five barley loaves and multiplied them into a meal for 5,000 people. Some who read this story say, “no way.” I am convinced that is why a child offered up the loaves.

The child was the only one willing to trust Jesus with his food in the midst of 5,000 hungry people. The child did not say, “There are too many people to feed, there is no use in giving my small amount.” The child did not say, “How are you going to do it? First, tell me, then I will give my food to you.” The child did not say, “But, what will I have left to eat?” The child simply offered what he had with reverence, imagination, and faith. Today, in a world without truth and one full of skepticism, most people refuse to give what little they have — materially, mentally, or emotionally — to anything higher or lower than themselves. As adults, we assume the supernatural is beyond our grasp, even though one could say the same about almost every academic discipline such as calculus, metaphysics, technology engineering, or neurobiology, yet we don’t dismiss them or assume they don’t make our lives better.

The young child still asks why? In his or her wisdom, he or she knows that — “why?” — is the most important question. We are all ignorant of something, yet only the child maintains the humility to ask for more information, without assuming they have the answer already. I am sad that most people I talk to have given up on the question “why?” Why is the sky blue? Why do fireworks go boom? Why do bad things happen to good people? I am sadder that people have given up the faith that God can do great things with their small lives and their small contributions. Each and every one of you reading this has the potential to change the lives of thousands, if not millions today, with a small contribution of time or money through God. As a matter of fact, that is exactly why you were created, to glorify God, and to serve others. If you wonder why you have never seen 5,000 people fed on a small amount of food, you only need to ask yourself if you are smarter than a fifth grader?
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