I’m working to set up this new blog site (based on an older one) and I am reworking some of my older posts that have meant a lot to me. I may be posting a lot in a day until I’m caught up with posts I wanted to move over and as I figure out a new format in WordPress. We were in the latter part of John 6 on a Sunday last October when my eyes had glanced over to an underlined verse on the other page;
“When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.” John 6:12
Fragment: 1) A part broken off or detached 2) an isolated, unfinished, incomplete part 3) an odd piece, bit or scrap
Gather: 1) to pick up 2) to bring together 3) to collect
Remain: to linger
Lost: cast away
The context here is the account of the feeding of the 5,000. A crowd had followed Jesus and the disciples soon after Jesus had healed a man on the Sabbath and was persecuted for it. Because of the wide spread news of Christ’s miracles, a lot of people followed him over the sea of Galilee after the healing. When Jesus saw the crowd, he asked Philip where they were going to buy bread to feed all the people. The disciples didn’t have the power to make food appear out of nowhere, nor did they have sufficient funds to purchase any. Christ knew the answer already and was going to prove His power to not only heal, but to provide. Andrew noticed a boy there who had 5 barley loaves and 2 fishes, but what were they among so many? (vs 9) Jesus instructed the disciples to have the 5,000 men (besides the women and children) sit down. He took the 2 loaves, gave thanks for and blessed the offering, and distributed the food. I had written in my Bible, “Faith comes before the miracle”. Before the actual feeding of the crowd, Christ needed to be trusted to provide. Before anyone knew exactly how this was going to supply the need, there was a moment of thanksgiving for what was about to be done. And there was enough and more.
And just a thought here about the underlined vs 12, Jesus said, “Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.” John was the only one who remembered and recorded it this way. Matthew, Mark, and Luke all wrote about picking up the leftovers or fragments. There were 12 baskets full after the meal, but only John wrote that the fragments were picked up so that ‘nothing be lost’. John was a sensitive one– always close by Christ’s side. John must have had some insight and knowing Christ like he did, he might have figured out that something was going to be done with all that was not wanted. I doubt there was a “No Littering” sign on the lawn that caused them to pick up what was left. Were the leftovers passed around among the people? Did the disciples take them when they entered the ship to go toward Capernaum? Was it given back to the boy as a reward for his humble offering? As far as I could tell, we weren’t given that answer. But no matter what happened to the 12 full baskets of ‘fragments’, we are assured that nothing was lost. I wonder if John thought about the implications of how he recorded this miracle. I wonder if he remembered that in each of the disciples, Jesus had gathered up the fragmented pieces of their lives and did something amazing with them. “Heartaches, broken pieces, ruined lives are why He died on Calvary. Your touch was what I longed for. You have given life to me”, goes an old song.
In Christ, nothing is lost.
In Christ, nothing is lost. He works in me and through me; the good, the bad, the ugly. Fragments—broken off pieces of dreams unfulfilled, feelings of incompleteness, odd pieces of life that don’t seem to make sense or ‘fit’ in the big picture. HE can bring them all together– the hurts that remain– so that nothing is cast away. So that ‘all things work together for good to them who love God’, Romans 8:28. Faith comes before the miracle. If I have put my trust in Him for my salvation, why would I not have faith that He can take my life and use it? Can I give thanks that He has the power to multiply what is given to me, even if I become broken for His glory?
What seemed like an insignificant lad, made history. What seemed like an insufficient lunch, made a lesson in trust not only for the crowd, but for all who witnessed it and who read this account of the miracle. What we see as insignificant and insufficient is more than enough for God to do something pretty amazing. Nothing is cast away. Christ knew where the fragments went and I can be assured that every last lingering bit was not lost or wasted.