When some people hear the story of how Jesus fed a multitude with five barley loaves and two fish, they stumble at the supernatural aspect. However, I have always been just as impressed with the morality seen in this story as I have been the miraculous. Let us count the ways:
1. Jesus was willing to have compassion on others and go out of His way to help them. Do you provide food to people in such situations or are you more focused on when and where you’re going to have your own lunch?
2. Jesus was willing to give up what was His in order to make sure others were fed. Those loaves and fishes were going to be Jesus’ own source of sustenance. He was giving that up.
3. Jesus was giving away the sustenance of His followers, too. How many leaders do you know who are willing to deprive their staffs in order to meet the needs of others? More pointedly, how many leaders could keep their staffs around if they did such things?
4. Jesus did not ask for anything in return from the crowd. He did not use the gift to get some return favor from them. He gave to the crowd without any thought of receiving from the crowd.
5. Jesus did not try to capitalize on the fame that would have come from His gift. In fact, He spoke rather forcefully about God’s requirements of people – to the point that many of the disciples withdrew and stopped following Him (John 6:66).
6. Jesus took no credit for the provision but rather gave the credit to God. He was as humble afterward as He had been before.
Human leaders just do not act this selflessly. Even the best of them have egos that must be stroked, passions of some kind that must be filled. It is just not normal to see that much power wielded in such a humble and selfless way. The moral dimension of this story is as rare in human experience as the miraculous dimension.