July 31, 2020
Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted. And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.” So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves left by those who had eaten.
It must have really been something to see Jesus feeding 5,000+ folks with a handful of bread and fish. The Bible tells us the disciples distributed the food and everyone ate as much as they wanted. But we’re not told exactly how it worked. Apparently the disciples would hand out a piece of bread, and then somehow there was another piece there to hand out? And another? And another? It must have been astonishing! I can just see the disciples looking at each other, handing out food and laughing at the craziness and abundance. The food just kept coming out of nowhere!
And then, after all had eaten, twelve baskets were filled with leftover pieces. Why the leftovers, I wonder? Jesus could have made it come out perfect: Nothing left over, but everyone still full. That would have also been amazing!
At the heart of it, I think, the leftovers are simply a reflection of God’s deeply loving character: God is outrageously, abundantly generous. Yes, sometimes He gives us “exactly-what-we-need-and-no-more” (for His own reasons). But providing more than enough is just who God is. He is generous in physical things (like in Matthew 20’s Parable of the Laborers). But more importantly, God is insanely generous in spirit as well. His forgiveness is beyond our understanding. Before Jesus’ intervention the Apostle Paul was a murdering terrorist, someone we would all want brought to a grim justice. And yet God chose him for great work as a Christian leader—something we would never dream of.
Like the disciples handing out food, do you ever laugh at the crazy generosity of your Heavenly Father? Do you know God in that way? Do you anticipate God’s generosity in your life? Reflect today how God’s generous heart has been displayed in your life, and ask Him where you may need His generosity to shine again!
Give, and it will be given to you. You will have more than enough. It can be pushed down and shaken together and it will still run over as it is given to you. (Luke 6:38 NLV)