Friday Devotional - Lessons in the Leftovers

Pizza Ranch Serves

Friday Devotional - Lessons in the Leftovers

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
— 1 Corinthians 10:31

Friday Devotional
Lessons in the Leftovers
photo via Lily Banse on Unsplash

Who likes leftovers? 😊

Most of the time, I do – leftover soup, leftover taco meat, leftover fried rice – all good things!

Today we are going to talk about how Jesus uses leftovers… This is a story that I’m guessing most of you have heard at least once, if not multiple times. But stick with me here – imagine yourself in the scene of this story.

John 6:1-12

Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), 2 and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the signs he had performed by healing the sick. 3 Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. 4 The Jewish Passover Festival was near.

5 When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” 6 He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.

7 Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages[a] to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”

8 Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, 9 “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”

10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). 11 Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.

12 When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.”

At first glance, the takeaway may be the obvious miracle that Jesus performed – taking just 5 loaves and 2 small fish and feeding 5,000 MEN – that number doesn’t include the women and the children in attendance (total was likely closer to 13,000). And this is a miracle, without a doubt. Another take-away is that there were leftovers from this meal; Jesus told his disciples to gather up the leftovers and “let nothing be wasted.”

In my study Bible though, there are 3 notes that hit me in a new way when I read this a couple of weeks ago:

  1. Jesus creates options where there is no human option.
    1. Study Note: If anyone knew where to get food, it would have been Philip because he was from a town about 9 miles away. Jesus was testing Philip to strengthen his faith. By asking for a human solution (knowing none existed), Jesus highlighted the powerful and miraculous act that he was about to perforrm.
  2. Jesus uses our smallest offerings.
    1. Study Note: John (author) contrasts the young boy, who brought what he had, with the confused disciples. They certainly had more resources than the boy, but they knew they didn’t have enough, so they didn’t give anything at all. The boy gave what little he had, and it made all the difference. If we offer nothing to God, he will have nothing from us to use. But if we give it to him, he will take what little we have and turn it into something great.
    2. Kate Note: If we have only 30% to give…and we give all 30%, then we actually give our 100% 😊
  3. Jesus loves to use our leftovers.
    1. Study Note: There is a lesson in the leftover. God gives in abundance. He takes whatever we can offer him in time, ability, or resources and multiplies its effectiveness beyond our wildest expectations. If you take the first step in making yourself available to God, he will show you have greatly you can be used to advance the work of his kingdom.

In the moment, I wonder what that little boy thought when the disciples asked him for his lunchbox. My first reaction would be to guard my food and tell them to look elsewhere. But bless his heart, he offered what he had and trusted that he would still be okay.

Maybe you are in a position where it feels like all you have to offer God is a small lunchbox and you’re not sure how God could use that to feed 5,000 people. This is a reminder for you and a reminder for me that God steps in when our lunches seem too small to be of any use and He multiples what we do gladly give to Him to use; God blesses our offerings and gives in abundance.

So, when you warm up your next meal of leftovers, maybe this will come to mind and remind you that God uses every little thing we offer to him; nothing with God is wasted.