Leftovers

I was pretty spoiled growing up in the fact that my dad went to culinary art school and his first few jobs were as a chef and cook for restaurants. Needless to say he made some amazing meals for our family throughout the years. But not only could my dad make a great meal from scratch, he had this knack of making some of the most delicious dishes out of leftovers. My dad could take food that had been leftover from other meals and turn them into mouth-watering courses. In fact my mouth is watering as I’m writing this just thinking of some of the meals my dad made us. What other people may have discarded or thrown away, my dad turned into something amazing. Because of this, nothing ever got left in the refrigerator or thrown in the trash in our house. Nothing was ever wasted.

Most of you who are reading this know the story in Mark 6 where Jesus feeds the five thousand. But most of us overlook what happened after Jesus fed the five thousand. Here is a quick review for those of you who know the story and for those who may be reading this that don’t know about the story. So Jesus has been speaking to a group of people for pretty much the whole day. In fact Jesus had been speaking to the people so long that the group had grown into a multitude. A couple of disciples, who were Jesus’ rag tag group of friends, got a little concerned because Jesus had been missing their hints for Him to start wrapping up His sermon so they approached Jesus and told Him that He should stop speaking and let the crowd go home so they could get something to eat because it had gotten pretty late in the day. Jesus’ response to the disciples is crazy, even somewhat absurd. Instead of letting the people go so they can go home to eat, He tells the disciples to feed the multitude. The disciples say “Jesus your crazy.” Jesus says “What do you have?” And the disciples go through the crowd and all they manage to scrounge up for the people to eat are five loaves of bread and two measly fish. They’re thinking to themselves “Five loaves and two fish to feed five thousand? That’s not going to work.” But Jesus says “Give them to me.” So they give the loaves and fish to Jesus and He turns it into a five course meal that winds up feeding everyone until they couldn’t eat anymore. What a miracle! Everyone goes home satisfied. But here’s the part that we tend to overlook. While the multitude starts to leave, Jesus tells the disciples to go around and gather up what is leftover. What the crowd had left behind, Jesus wouldn’t allow to get wasted. What everyone else had thrown away, Jesus didn’t overlook.

Why would the Creator of the universe want to keep what had been thrown away? Why would the Maker of all things want to collect what others had discarded? I believe it’s because God doesn’t waste anything. What we think is leftover in our lives that can never be used for anything, Jesus says “I can use that.” The good, the bad, and the ugly in our lives Jesus can use for His glory and our good. I believe this because Romans 8:28 says “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Other manuscripts say “God works all things together for the good.” In other words your failures and your triumphs, God works together. Your weaknesses and your strengths, God works together. Your good days and your bad days, God works together. He can use your leftovers and make them into your life changers. He can take what you have left and turn it into what is right. He can use what you have overlooked and make it into what you always needed. He can take what you have discarded and turn it into what you can’t let go. He can take what you have thrown away and make it into what you hold onto.

Jesus can use the things in your life that you believe are unusable. He can turn your trash into His treasure. He can make your mess into His message. With Jesus nothing in your life is ever discarded, nothing is leftover, and nothing is wasted.

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