My inspiration for this painting came in Sunday School when we were studying the miracle of
feeding the 5000 (New Testament Lesson 12 “I Am the Bread of Life).
There was a great multitude, and Jesus asked, “Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?”
Philip answered him, “Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them that every one of them may take a little.” Andrew said, “There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?” And when he had taken the five loaves and the two fishes, he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and brake the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before them; and the two fishes divided he among them all. And they did all eat, and were filled. And they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments, and of the fishes. And they that had eaten were about five thousand men,
beside women and children.
(John 6:1-14, Mark 6:30-44, Matthew 14:14-21)
The Sunday School lesson brings up these questions: How did Jesus feed the multitude? How can we follow the example of the boy (lad) who gave his loaves and fishes to Jesus? How does the Lord bless us when we, like the boy, give whatever we have in His service?
James E. Faust gave a talk titled “Five Loaves and Two Fishes” which is worth reading. Part of it says, “Many nameless people with gifts equal only to five loaves and two small fishes magnify their callings and serve without attention or recognition, feeding literally thousands. … These are the hundreds of thousands of leaders and teachers in all of the auxiliaries and priesthood quorums, the home teachers, the Relief Society visiting teachers. These are the many humble bishops in the Church, some without formal training but greatly magnified, always learning, with a humble desire to serve the Lord and the people of their wards. … A major reason this church has grown from its humble beginnings to its current strength is the faithfulness and devotion of millions of humble and devoted people who have only five loaves and two small fishes to offer in the service of the Master. They have largely surrendered their own interests and in so doing have found ‘the peace of God, which passeth all understanding’ (Philippians 4:7)”
(April 1994 Conference)
This oil painting focuses on the lad who gave only five loaves and two small fishes. It is almost as
if he was contemplating whether he should give what he had, because it certainly didn‘t seem to be enough. In actuality, his small offering was the beginning of a miracle. Rather than questioning ourselves on whether we have enough to give in the service of God, we just need to give what we can, and the Lord will bless and strengthen us in the things that we do.
“Wherefore, lift up your hearts and rejoice…, and take upon you my whole armor, that ye may be able to withstand the evil day… Stand, therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, having on the breastplate of righteousness, and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, which I have sent mine angels to commit unto you; Taking the shield of faith wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked; And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of my Spirit, which I will pour out upon you, and my word which I reveal unto you…, and be faithful until I come, and ye shall be caught up, that where I am ye shall be also. Amen.”
There are many examples of different warriors throughout history that we can follow and be inspired by. No one is exempt from needing armor in this life. It doesn’t matter if you are young or old, what calling you hold, or whether or not you have been to the temple. We are all warriors in the
battle against Satan. The only time that we can put our armor down is when our battle is over and we go home to our Savior. How amazing it would be if He can say, “Well Done.”