When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost. Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten. ~John 6:12-13
One of the blessings of celebrating holiday festivities is the abundance of food leftovers. As far as I can remember, every Thanksgiving I have celebrated has had turkey leftover. Turkey leftover is delicious in sandwiches, in turkey ala king, and in freshly made congee. This morning, we are looking at an incident in the Bible where an abundant amount of leftovers was collected at the end of a major feeding.
We see the miraculous CAUSE.
The leftovers were the result of Jesus miraculously feeding over 5,000 men, women, and children with two little sardine fishes and five little barley loaves. Jesus had transformed these simple, insignificant snacks out of a concern for the multitude’s welfare and the lack of concern of His disciples. Jesus had spent the day teaching and ministering to this large crowd of people. As the day was drawing to a close, Jesus asked His disciples how they would feed this large group of people. Instead of seeing a lesson to help them better understand ministry, they reacted by telling Jesus to send them away. Our best ministry opportunities for growth happen when we are faced with situations beyond our wisdom and physical reach. Andrew found the one little lad who willingly donated his little happy meal for Jesus to use. The Lord was pleased to bless this little lad’s gift, and everyone was filled to their stomach’s contentment. Be careful not to despise the day of small things!
We see the manifold COLLECTION.
After everyone had been served and fed, Jesus commanded His disciples to “Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.” Amazingly, the twelve collected twelve baskets of the leftover barley loaves. We must remember that barley loaves were small bite-sized pieces of baked barley. The disciples had previously served the large multitude with what Jesus broke into portions for serving. Now there were twelve baskets of leftovers that testified of the amazing power of our Lord. The thought that should impress us the most is that Jesus commanded this collection so that nothing be lost. We must be careful not to throw away leftover blessings! We must be careful not to throw away opportunities to serve! We must be careful not to throw away one-time opportunities to make a difference for the Lord!
We see the marvelous CONNECTION.
Jesus sent the disciples away to meet Him back on the other side of the Sea of Galilee. These men rowed all night, but could not prevail against the strong winds on the sea. Jesus walked on the water to meet them at the fourth watch of the night, or 3am. These disciples were frightened, but were more than happy to have Him on board the ship. As soon as He came on board, He calmed the winds and the seas. Again, these disciples saw the Lord do an amazing and miraculous work before them. We are told that they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure and wondered. Mark 6:52 tells us, “For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened.” There were vital lessons for these doubting disciples. First, we must be careful of getting used to serving people and allowing the difficulty in serving them to cause us to lose heart for the ministry. Second, we must have faith in the power of God. We disqualify ourselves from seeing God work through us when what we pray for and do is without faith. Most of what we do for the Lord is based on what we can do, and not what He wants to do through us. Third, we must be careful to always catch the heart of the Lord. His heart was for them to accept the challenge of asking Him to do what was humanly impossible. Fourth, we need to look for the leftover results after God has done something powerful in our lives. Leftovers are a reminder God wants to do it again!
What are you doing with the leftovers? Do you serve and live your life expecting the Lord to do something great? Are you missing out on the opportunities because of an unbelieving heart?
Have a faith-filled God Morning!