Gathering Scraps

John 6:10-12 WEB

Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in that place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. [11] Jesus took the loaves; and having given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to those who were sitting down; likewise also of the fish as much as they desired. [12] When they were filled, he said to his disciples, “Gather up the broken pieces which are left over, that nothing be lost.”


It seems strange for Jesus to demonstrate such generosity coupled with frugality.  On one hand, he miraculously produces a feast so even the least person could eat all they wanted. On the other hand, Jesus tells them not to lose the scraps.

Jesus did not want to lose the scraps. Somehow, Jesus manages to feed the people, demonstrate God’s love to everyone, and teach the disciples an important lesson. It seems clear he does not approve of loss. Jesus does not approve of waste.

Waste is an epidemic in our modern society. We buy things and keep them until we are bored with them or until they break. Then, we throw away what we no longer care about and run out to buy more. The trash dumps around the world testify to the magnitude of waste.

Of course, garbage is not Jesus’ main concern. His main concern is people being reconciled to God the Father and coming into a saving knowledge of himself. So, when I hear Jesus talk about waste, I immediately think of people. Do we ever throw people away?

Those people in our lives that take more than they give are an opportunity. Difficult relationships are not meant to be wasted, to be thrown away. Difficult people remind me of the scraps. They are the people no one wants. Yet, the people that are leftover are the very ones I think Jesus would tell us to gather.


Lord Jesus, please teach me to be both generous and frugal. Help me Lord as I turn towards those people that are easy to ignore. Protect me from harm as I open my heart to those that are less desirable. Help me make use of every opportunity to bring healing and salvation to those you bring into my life. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.

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