How Did He Do That? Part 6

11And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would. 12When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.
Have you ever wondered what God is gonna do with this?  What is going to do with these “leftovers”? What good are leftovers? What good is this tired old talent or way of doing things?

Did you know that the average American produces about 5 pounds of trash a day?

Did you know that Americans throw away about a half-a-pound of food each day?

Did you know that up to 295 billion pounds of food is thrown away each year?

These facts are staggering to consider when there is so much poverty in the USA and around the world! Knowing these statistics makes what Jesus did at the end of this passage all the more beautiful! Jesus instructed the disciples to collect up the leftovers so that nothing would be wasted. He was going to send the food back home with the boy! The boy’s small offering would now be rewarded as a blessing to his entire family and perhaps even the whole village!

What are you wasting?

After an event like that in our culture, many people would not have given a second  thought about simply discarding the leftovers. No one would have wanted to take the time to collect it up and store it up for use in the future. No one would have wanted to take the time to carry it back home. Who has time for that??? But this was evidently important to Jesus.

Jesus didn’t waste an opportunity to be a blessing for the future.

He took something that was right now and prepared it to be a blessing for the next day. What many would have left or thrown out, Jesus prepared for tomorrow. Just because something may seem old or tired or used up doesn’t mean it is! It may need to be repackaged, refreshed, or reheated but it can be recycled to be sure! Jesus will take what we have given Him and prepare it for the future if we are willing to use it again. Don’t simply discard a practice, a program, or a principle because it’s “old”. Certainly be open to new ways and practices. Technology and social media are wonderful new inventions that can go far in reaching people and making an impact in this generation and future ones. However, don’t ignore the things that have worked for years and simply do away with them because they seem “old”. Allow Christ to prepare it for tomorrow. This will require us to place it in His hands once again. Maybe it’s old and tired because we have “made” it? Allow Him to remake it and it may just very well be a blessing for the future!

Jesus looked to the future to impact the present.

Where did the blessing of the fish and bread come from? A little boy! No one would have suspected the blessing for the entire throng to come from a kid…and yet it did! Jesus didn’t reject the gift of the kid. How often do we dismiss what kids or youth have to offer because we feel they would have little to contribute? How often do we not include them in discussions about church and future church because we really don’t want their input or feel like their ideas would be valuable? Jesus demonstrated that He could use a kid and what a kid had to offer to bless those who were present and even beyond! Perhaps we need to survey what kids like and dislike about church? Maybe we need to include teens and even kids who don’t attend church to find out what we could work on to reach future generations? Maybe we need to give some more responsibilities to the youth and make them feel like a bigger part of God’s redemptive plan?

Jesus didn’t waste an opportunity to be a blessing beyond those who were present.

Have you ever been part of the “outsiders club”? You know what I mean, right? You’re sitting with friends who begin talking about a trip they were on but you didn’t make. They have their inside jokes, their stories that just aren’t as funny or special to you because you were not there! Frankly, you just don’t care!  That’s what is so awesome about this part of Jesus not wanting anything to be lost. He didn’t want others who were not there to miss the blessing either! He sent the baskets full of bread and fish back with the people. He didn’t hoard it or simply make enough for the ones present. He made more than enough for those present and then sought to be a blessing to those who were not. He wanted to include as many as possible in the blessing of this gift from the little boy. He wanted to bless others who were not there so they could share in the story! How have you tried to hoard blessings for yourself? How could you include others in the story and blessings of Jesus? How have you been limiting what God is placing in your hands to be a blessing to others?

Even though wasting food is tragic and inexcusable, wasting time and opportunities are more so! Jesus didn’t waste this food and He certainly didn’t waste time or opportunities. May we be faithful followers and do as He has shown us!

George Lockhart is a missionary with Vision 2 Hear and serves as the Youth Pastor at New Vision Church in Fayetteville, GA

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