“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 (NIV)
“So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.” John 6:12-13 (NIV)
Sometimes life seems dreary work to clean up after Christmas. If you had a real tree it has to be put out before it sheds too many needles. All the wrapping paper that was eagerly torn off the presents has to be gathered and put into the garbage. The remnants of the turkey may be boiled into a soup. And on it goes as we clean up from the grand day of feasting and exchanging gifts.
In John 6 we read of our Lord performing a miracle of creation. It was a very remarkable act because all of His other miracles worked on preexisting matter. In this miracle of taking one poor lad’s bag lunch and making a meal for thousands, our Lord was demonstrating that He is the Creator God.
When Jesus called on the disciples to gather up the leftovers, He was showing His concern for the environment that we should leave things as we found them. Also Jesus was concerned not to waste anything. The leftovers from the meal would feed them for several days and/or they could share with the poor all around them.
We see reasons for all that Jesus did with His followers. Nothing was just humdrum even if it was just cleaning up after themselves. We also note that the work of cleaning up after yourself is not a waste of time. Why could the 5,000 not have cleaned up after themselves? They made the mess so they ought to have left things clean and beautiful again. There is no answer to that, but God’s people are expected to do for others what you would wish them to do for you.
Sometimes in life we are called on to clean up after others. God’s will is that we love our neighbor and that can mean doing things for them that they might have done for themselves. How many parents despair of their teenagers who have sloppy bedrooms? Have you raked up the leaves that fall from your neighbor’s trees? Have you paid a price when another motorist caused an accident and your car is in need of repair?
We need to care for others when they might have cared for themselves. Only the little lad came with a lunch to hear Jesus—all set to eat after hearing the Master for several hours. He willingly gave the little he had to Jesus and it wonderfully blessed thousands.
Those things we dedicate to Jesus may not serve the needs of 5000 people, but certainly it honors the Lord when we do our part. The Lord has a way of multiplying our work for Him. Never think your service, however humble, is not good enough. Never be humdrum about the work you do for the best of Masters. Look at what Jesus did with the little boy’s lunch! John 6:12-13 (NIV) May you follow the way of the wise young boy and give the Lord your modest gifting and have Him bless it to the good of others.