by: Dr. Steve Heidenreich
As a young convert, I was at church on a Saturday night cleaning the auditorium for the services on Sunday. After mopping the floor and waiting for it to dry, I went to the altar and prayed for God to use me. I remember hearing the story of the little lad and the five loaves. I asked God to use me like the little lad to help get that breaded life to the multitudes around the world. I didn’t know that night that God would make that my life’s calling! It’s being a lad giving what He has so that the Bread of Life would be given to the multitudes of the world.
Now after 40 years this lad has been able to take the Bread of Life to so many multitudes around the world. It began by getting involved in the bus ministry and then being taught how to go soul winning; from the little farmhouse to the city of about 35,000, on to city of Chicago, then to a different state, and finally across a America. God then so graciously allowed me to take the Bread of Life to the country of the Philippines. Now for His Glory I have been able to take the Bread of Life to so many countries around the world. Because of all of this, hundreds and thousands of people have heard the story of the Bread of Life which is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and tens of thousands have been saved, thousands baptized and many churches have been started as the result.
I have written this not to think that I am anything, but that there are so many other young people out there who God wants to use. Please let me share a few lessons that I have learned from all of this.
First, there are the lads. So many times in the story we focus on the disciples, but you know who it began with? The lad! We must realize that if we’re ever going to reach a world, young people are going to have to be involved in doing so. I believe with all my heart there are many young people out there who after they are saved have a strong desire to be used to God. After I got saved there was such a strong desire to be used to God.
Second, there’s such a great need for us to prepare those young people to be able to be used by God. Here we have a lad with a lunch who has five barley loaves and two small fishes. Someone took the time to prepare this lad a lunch to follow Jesus. I believe that we are losing many of the young people because we have not taken time to prepare them to follow the Lord. Many Christian parents and Christian leaders spend more time wanting their young people to follow the trends of the world. It’s amazing to me how many Christian parents spend their time teaching their children to learn technology and involvement in sports than teaching their children how to follow the Lord Jesus Christ.
Third, we need to recognize that our young people have something they can give to the Lord. It is not the size or the value of what we have to give to Lord as much as the willingness to give to the Lord. Like Andrew, we leaders need to notice that our young people have something that could be used of the Lord. I remember being in a missions conference over 30 years ago when a 10-year-old boy surrendered to go to the mission field. He told people that God called him to go to Africa. Many people at the conference did not take him seriously, but God did. I watched a lad grow up and go through high school, and then go off to college with a burning desire to go to Africa. After graduating from college he was accepted by a mission board and went on deputation and then on to Kenya, Africa. After spending many years there and seeing people saved, baptized and starting churches, he was asked to be director of a mission board to help other people to do the same. We need to always watch what God is doing in our young people’s lives.
Fourth, we must never forget the main purpose in which God uses our young people. So many times when we tell the story, we focus on the lad, the five loaves and two small fishes, but that’s not the main purpose of the story. The key to this whole chapter is that Jesus Christ is the Bread of Life which came down from Heaven. That Bread of Life must be taken to the multitudes of the world.
As I am writing this article, I am in the country of Panama. I’m with a college group from Texas Baptist College out of Longview Baptist Temple. We have just spent the day out soul-winning and passing out over a thousand copies of John and Romans. There were over 100 people who trusted Jesus Christ as their Saviour. If you could just see the look on people’s faces as they received the Word of God and trusted His Son as their Saviour. Jesus spent most of John 6 making sure that disciples understood that He was the Bread of Life. If we really understood that He is the Bread of Life, we would do more to not only reach the multitudes, but also to watch for the lads of this world to give what they have to do the same.
Dr. Steve Heidenreich