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A Packed Lunch!

Something small can make a big difference

by Michelle Walker (revised, originally published in 2006)

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To consider the fact that offering something small can make a big difference.

Preparation and materials

  • Familiarize yourself with the Bible story in John 6, which is about the feeding of the 5,000.

  • You will need some children to act as the boy and the disciples.

  • You will need a small basket containing five bread rolls and two fish - these can be real, models or made out of paper.

  • Optional: you may wish to make lots of paper bread and fish to give out to children as the story progresses.


  1. Start the assembly by asking the children questions about sharing.

    - Do you like to share?
    - Do you always share?
    What kinds of things do you share with others?
    How does it feel when others share with you?
    How does it feel when others do not share with you?
    Do you think that some things are too small to share?

  2. Ask the children if they have ever given everything they had to someone else.
    Listen to a range of answers.
    Suggest that giving someone everything because you care about them so much would be a very generous, thoughtful and probably unlikely thing to do.
  3. Explain that the story for today’s assembly is about a young boy who gave Jesus everything he had. Invite a child to come out to hold the basket containing the bread rolls and the fish. Show the children the contents of the basket and explain that this was the little boy’s lunch.
    You may like to read the story from the Bible or a children’s Bible, or use the paraphrase below:

    Everyone was very excited about going to listen to Jesus. They had all heard about the amazing things that Jesus did; about the blind people who could now see and the lame people who had been healed. On this occasion, there were thousands of people who had come to see Jesus and they had been listening to him all day without eating. Everyone was beginning to get hungry, and there were no shops or takeaways where they could pop in and buy something to eat.
    Jesus felt sorry for all the people in the crowd and asked one of his disciples where they could buy food to feed everybody. His disciple pointed out that it would cost them more money than they could earn in a month to feed so many people!

    Show the children the contents of the boy's basket again. Explain that if the five loaves and two fish were divided among the thousands of people, they would only get a tiny crumb each!

    Even though the boy only had a small amount of food, he decided that he would like to share it with the crowds of people and gave his lunch to one of the disciples. Jesus took the food in his hands and said thank you to God for the food. Jesus then told everybody to sit down and asked his disciples to begin to hand the food round.

    If the paper bread and fish are available, ask some volunteers to hand them round.

    The boy was amazed. Not only did his lunch feed the thousands of people in the crowd, there were 12 baskets of food left over!

    Ask the actors to sit down, with a round of applause.

  4. Ask the following question.

    - How do you imagine the boy felt, knowing that his small lunch had fed all those people?

    Listen to a range of answers.
    Explain that a small act of kindness and sharing had resulted in Jesus feeding thousands of people.

Time for reflection

Nothing is too small to be shared. Whatever we have to share can make a difference to those around us. Nothing is too small to be shared with others.

Ask each of these questions in turn, giving the children time to consider their response.

- What could you share?
- How could you be more generous with what you have?
- How could you think of others more?
- What will you do today that is a special act of sharing?

Dear God,
We thank you for everything that we have.
Please help us to think of those less fortunate than ourselves.
Please help us to remember that nothing is too small to be shared with others.


‘The best gift’ (Come and Praise, 59)

Publication date: May 2016   (Vol.18 No.5)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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