“When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” John 6:12
On Christmas morning I watched family members rip open packages which had been carefully wrapped and throw aside pretty gift bags, bows, ribbon and crisp tissue paper getting to the goodies inside. After rejoicing over the presents and sharing moments of appreciation I quickly noticed the mounds of trash on the floor. Remnants of treasures once held.
I made sure everyone placed their gifts in a safe place so I could discard the trash without throwing away something valuable with the wrapping paper.
The apostle John recalls the story of Jesus feeding 5,000 men plus women and children with a little boy’s lunch. Using five barley loaves and two small fish he feed a multitude until they were not only filled but fragments remained. WOW! (John 6)
Initially, the sardines and mini loaves seemed inadequate for the crowd. Yet Jesus, God in human flesh blessed the not enough and created more than enough as a beautiful display of his power.
Initially, the sardines and mini loaves seemed inadequate for the crowd. Yet Jesus, God in human flesh blessed the not enough and created more than enough as a beautiful display of his power.Tweet
Once everyone was satisfied, Jesus instructed the apostles to collect the leftovers.
“So when they were filled, He said to His disciples, “Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost.” John 6:12 NKJV
There were leftovers Ya’ll!
They started with an insufficient amount of food and ended with leftovers, so Jesus said, get the Tupperware and put that up for later. (Calvonia Radford Version)
Christ the ultimate source from whom we obtain all (re)sources can speak and anything needed will appear, wanted to assure nothing was wasted. He taught his protégés to gather the fragments that remained.
Fragment – a small piece or part, remnant
What Jesus required from the disciples was similar to what I do after opening a gift. I fold the tissue paper and gift bags and place them with a collection of the same so that when I give a gift I can retrieve those supplies and place my newly purchased gift in that used bag. I recrisp the tissue paper by ironing it with steam. (I know I’m extra). No one can tell I didn’t run down to Hallmark and spend $5.00.
As we transition from 2021 to 2022, we need to be careful not to discard the fragments.
I know 2021 was and is difficult. It has brought a plethora of feelings; hurt, confusion, insecurity, anxiety, loneliness, depression, frustration, skepticism, irritation, discouragement and more. Think about it, we have lost jobs, houses, good health, loved ones, relationships, good mental health, our Christian community…… Need I say more?
We are starting 2022 with what seems inadequate, insufficient for the needs of a new year. But remember, Jesus specializes in lack. He is a miracle worker.
Why do we need to rummage through this year’s experiences for things to take into a new year?
We need evidence of God’s sustaining power during the tough times. We need something tangible to remind us of what he has done so we can trust him in future situations.
Jesus knew the leftovers were tangible proof of his grace. As the disciples walked home carrying a basket of leftovers, they would be prompted to share about God’s goodness and by sharing their faith would increase.
Trash Becomes Treasure
As believers we know that God works all things together for our good.
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 KJV
Chick-fil-A has a holiday commercial where the little girl accidentally breaks her mother’s air loom ornament. She takes it to a baker for repairs.
Little girl: “It’s broken”
Baker: “Is it? Or is it the start of something wonderful?”
After putting the broken pieces into the oven, she hesitantly presented the result to her mother.
Little girl: “We tried to fix it”
Mother: “Wait. What? But you didn’t fix it. You made it even better.”
Our uncomfortable situations and circumstances are broken and shattered. But among the broken pieces, there are remnants to gather.
This is not the time to give up and wallow in feelings of hopelessness. It will not serve us well to ponder thoughts of shoulda, coulda, woulda’s. This is prime time. A season of recovery, restoration and reconciliation. This is the time to evaluate what remains. Fill the basket and trust God with the rest.
Through prayer, we can put those broken pieces in the master’s hands and gain what we need to start the new year off strong.
Pray with me: Father, here we are at the threshold of another year. We don’t know what tomorrow holds but we know there is some stuff from this year we don’t ever want to experience again. Guide us. Show us what to keep and what to discard. Give us courage to put it all in your hands knowing you know how to make it better. In Jesus name, Amen
Thought to ponder: Are you looking forward to a new year, hoping that one will be better than this one? Do you find it hard to fathom God taking any of your fragments and doing something phenomenal with them? I encourage you to write them down and pray over them. Imagine yourself handing them to God. He can handle it. He can make all things new.
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