When they were full, he told his disciples, “Collect the leftovers so that nothing is wasted.” So they collected them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces from the five barley loaves that were left over by those who had eaten.
Not Much of an Afterparty
What comes after the party? The cleanup. No one’s favorite or most glorious moment, but a necessary conclusion to any large gathering. But there’s a twist to this story…even here, in the most mundane of moments, we see Christ’s continuing, miraculous work of abundance.
That He Should Lose Nothing
Christ Jesus instructs His disciples to “collect the leftovers so that nothing is wasted.” The Greek word for “leftovers” is often translated to “pieces.” This term parallels Christ’s breaking of the five loaves into pieces only a little earlier in this narrative.
A guide to translating the Scriptures into new languages notes that they were instructed to retrieve the pieces that Jesus broke, not the crumbs and scraps. This notion echoes ahead to verse 39, where Jesus said that He “should lose nothing of all [the Father] has given me…”
Returned and Multiplied
Sometimes we are broken—even broken in worldly terms by the hands of Christ. But He will not waste any of it, not a single crumb; He will use all of our brokenness, and the grace returned will be multiplied many times.
That’s the other cool aspect of the story: we wind up with more. But I don’t think that those were Costco-sized loaves of bread initially.
So, the 12 baskets of pieces are so much more than the five loaves we started with. And so it is with Jesus.
In Overwhelming Abundance
This event took place at Passover. Part of the instruction of the Passover celebration is that nothing is left over; they were to burn anything that was left until morning. But Christ takes us from sufficiency to abundance, in bread and in life.
He takes what we have—really, what He has given to us to steward—and multiplies it in ways we could have never imagined in the first place. Even what is leftover deserves our awe.
For Kingdom Purposes
Do you ever think you don’t have enough to give, that you are not enough to serve the kingdom? God has bestowed in you gifts for the kingdom, for the His glory. He will take what we don’t think is significant and do so much more than we can think or expect.
When circumstances overwhelm you, seek the kingdom of God first, and He will bring you peace and multiply His gifts in you, all for His glory. What a witness to a world of scarcity.
Consider the areas in your life where you feel like you don’t have or simply are not enough. Take these pieces to the Lord and ask Him to show up in these spaces. Consider the ways He is able to take our broken pieces and multiply them for His glory, and thank Him for doing so. Reflect on those in your life who could also be reminded of His goodness to us in this way.