John 6:12 "Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted."
This was right after Jesus had fed the five thousand with five loaves and two fish. The Scriptures say that all the people had enough, and still there was some left. So why did Jesus instruct His disciples to gather it? Why didn't He want any of it to go to waste? Maybe a to-go snack for their next journey? Doggie-bags for everyone who came that day? Why did Jesus save the leftovers?
Because He is awesome. (12 extra baskets full of bread--He knows what's up)
Jesus loves leftovers--just like me!
I don't know if I would call it an obssession, but I do enjoy leftovers. Maybe because growing up, in a small family of four, we had leftovers most nights. Which meant we got to enjoy them the next day: to take to school (I went to a small private school with access to a microwave...score), and often to enjoy the next night for dinner, again.
Now, I look forward to leftovers. Especially if it's something good, like Chinese or Italian. Except pizza--I'd rather eat cold pizza then reheat it. Something about re-warmed pizza just isn't right.
I will even go so far as to save more of my food at a restaurant because I know I am going to take it home and eat it the next day. So maybe I am a little obsessive-compulsive...but I LOVE leftovers!
And I'm glad Jesus does too.
I believe Jesus saved the leftovers that day not because he was going to sell them in the market place as a 'take-home miracle,' or because He really wanted some for lunch the next day, but because
Jesus doesn't let anything go to waste
1 Corinthians 15:58 says, "Therefore my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain."
Nothing that you do for the Lord is in vain. There are a few specifications that can be made (if you punch someone and say "Lord that was for you!" that one probably doesn't count), but so often we are moved by what we are not, what we don't have, what we can't do...and God says, "I can even use your leftovers! Nothing is wasted!"
Now, just because He'll use our leftovers doesn't mean He deserves them when that's all we have. Those last 5 minutes at the end of the day when you realize you haven't talked to Him at all; those half-hearted prayers you throw up to Him right before a test you haven't studied for or an interview you haven't prepared for; in those times God deserves our best the first time around.
But what I love about God's grace, is that He can use anything. When I feel inadequate, when I feel insecure, when I'm afraid to give God the seemingly insignificant parts of me, He says:
"I want that. Gather that, and let nothing be wasted."
That talent that you hide because you think it isn't good enough, that classmate or coworker that you walk by every day without sharing the love of Christ with because you think they won't listen anyway, the way you walk out the door without telling your parents, siblings, or kids that you love them because you think they should know...those things are not insignificant! What you have inside you because God placed there is NOT insignificant!
I know it's hard (HELLO, I am preaching to the choir...me, I'm the choir), I have been in all of these situations and most of the time it is easier to leave your leftovers in the fridge for a week and then throw them when it is too late and they are expired. But imagine what GOD can do with them if you will only relinquish them into His hands. (Yes, your two day-old lasagna in a stained tupperware container that doesn't look appetizing anymore)
Think about the transformation of Saul into Paul. You know His friends never thought THAT guy would do anything great for God. Yet his is a story of amazing redemption and grace. He had plenty of excuses why God couldn't use Him, or why He shouldn't, but once he surrendered control, he was a force to be reckoned with.
You know why I love leftovers, besides the fact that I get a great meal twice? Because they're fast. It's simple and easy: you put it in the microwave, get it, and go.
The Gospel is simple. Our relationship with Christ is simple.
If we will just share the Good News, tell people what Christ has done for us, spend time with Him, read His Words, talk to Him, praise Him, thank Him...let Him use what we see as "leftovers," our day-to-day lives could be so much more effective, and simple.
Philippians 4:6 "Be anxious for NOTHING, but in everything, through prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God."
Each of the parts of this verse need the other, it teaches the proper way to communicate with God. Don't worry! About anything! But in everything, by praying and humbly begging, not forgetting to give thanks, ASK God.
Ask Him what parts you're hiding, what areas of your life need to be simplified, what things He wants to use that you've been holding onto to.
Let God use your "leftovers," and nothing will go to waste.