And when they were filled, He said to His disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments that nothing may be lost.” John 6:12
We all know the story of the feeding of the five thousand with five loaves and two fish. A great multitude was following Jesus and when it came time to eat, Jesus asked Philip where they might buy bread for everyone.
When Philip noted they only had 200 denari—not enough to buy what they needed—Andrew jumped in and mentioned a child was carrying five barley loaves and two fish. But of course, Andrew added, “But what are these for so many people?”
Obviously, this wasn’t enough food. Instead of panicking, Jesus asks the multitude to sit down. He then takes the loaves and fishes, gives thanks and . . . somehow there was enough food for thousands. A miracle, no doubt. But what happened next, after the miracle feast?
There was some food still available, so Jesus told his disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments that nothing may be lost.”
Fish would easily spoil, so the disciples let that go. But of the extra bread, they filled twelve baskets with what wasn’t eaten from just five loaves of bread.
But why? Couldn’t Jesus just make more? Was the Son of Man suddenly becoming frugal? Or worse yet, a hoarder?
One possible explanation is that the next time the disciples were hungry, the leftover bread would serve as a reminder of the miracle. Can we imagine what it was like to munch on bread that literally came out of nowhere, and was likely the best tasting bread they’d ever had?
Perhaps then, Jesus simply wanted to retain this bread to keep the miracle fresh in the minds of the disciples. So, as challenges came up, they could take a bite and say, “No worries, we’ll be fine. This bread proves it.”
The question for us is, what are our miracles? And what are the reminders? Do we keep that ultrasound photo on the wall—the one from the mom who didn’t think she could choose life, but did?
How about the funds that came from nowhere when we didn’t know if our ministry would make it? Did we write down this story, so we won’t forget?
Or, what about the staff member who was in a crisis? After we prayed for her, we got that call to say, “It’s a miracle—we’re going to be okay!” How are we remembering this?
Jesus reminded His disciples to keep the bread. Maybe he was just trying to be a good steward. But perhaps there was more—a reminder to keep our reminders fresh, and grow our faith in the process.
by Kirk Walden, Advancement Specialist
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