“So when they were filled, He said to His disciples, ‘Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost’ Therefore they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten.” John 6:12-13
Jesus had suggested that they get away from the crowds to rest. They hadn’t even had time to eat. The people saw He was leaving by boat and a huge crowd followed him. When He arrived John says, “Jesus lifted up His eyes.” He saw the crowd. He empathized with their pain and sickness. He saw they were sheep without a Shepherd and He had compassion for them. Could it be that there are people around you that need your compassion? Jesus lifted up His eyes, maybe we should too.
Mark says that He taught them many things until late in the day. The disciples told Him that they were in a remote place and they needed to send the crowd away so they could get food. They were basically saying, “It’s their problem, we are tired and hungry too. Let someone else worry about it.” Hmmm…how often have you prayed, “Lord, why don’t you send someone do something about this? Why won’t you help these people? Can’t somebody somewhere do something to make a difference?” Please notice what Jesus said, “You give them something to eat.” Often YOU are the answer to your own prayer. Their immediate response was that it would take them months to earn enough money to feed that many people. Jesus said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” He asked for what they did have not what they were lacking. When Jesus asked me to do something huge for him, I immediately came up with all of the reasons why I couldn’t do it. He spoke to my heart that He was going to do it, He just needed me to surrender what I had.
The men were the only ones numbered there that day. That number was 5,000. Among those men were women and children that were not numbered. Not significant to report. But of those insignificant, came the lad with 5 barley loaves and 2 fish. The one unnumbered. The one not counted. From him Jesus brought forth the miracle. You are not insignificant to God. You are not forgotten. And by all means you are numbered, even the very hairs on your head. Jesus will provide from the most unlikely source, could it be you?
Jesus had them sit down in groups. Our God is One of order, never confusion or chaos. He lifted up the bread, blessed it and broke it. He lifted up what He had and the Father multiplied it. He also divided the fish among all. The disciples distributed it and all were satisfied. It doesn’t say there was barely enough, they were all full. There were an estimated 15,000 people.
Okay now we get to our subject matter for today. Jesus told them to gather up the fragments so that nothing is lost. They gathered 12 full baskets of what was not eaten. Not only did God provide, he did so exceedingly abundantly more than they could have imagined or thought. But why would it be important for the disciples to pick up the fragments? First of all fragment means: a part broken off or detached; an isolated, unfinished or incomplete part; an odd piece, bit or scrap.
Jesus indicated that He didn’t want anything wasted. Maybe those fragments could be used for their food or perhaps a reminder of what just happened. I personally think that the pieces are important to God, a part of the miracle. Every single fragment, broken part, bit or scrap part of your life is valuable to God.He will leave nothing wasted. All of the good and bad parts will be intricately weaved into your story. Your assured hope and future. The story that only you can share. It is so exciting to me that the fragments of my life are important to God! I am important to God. You are too!
We can rest in the fact that God is completely in control. He knows exactly what He is doing! He was completely in control of every one of these people that were ministered to that day. He was detailed and made sure each one was fed, no one was forgotten. Let Him take the pieces and put them into the grand puzzle of your life and watch the beautiful picture take shape. Without one small piece the picture is incomplete. They are all relevant even the ones you wish you could forget. Offer up to Him what you have and just watch what He will do with it. You can start right where you are, today. My prayers for peace and hope are with you this week!