When they were filled He said unto His disciples, “Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.” John 6:12
For some reason here, I am envisioning sitting back in the dining room chair after Thanksgiving dinner and feeling stuffed. There is no way to fit another bite. And it might be a good idea to loosen things up around that full stomach. Everyone is definitely satisfied. Now it’s time to sit back and relax and enjoy the satisfaction. Well, in a sense, You’re challenging us to do that here. Only we’re not to sit back and think only about what we just ate, or what just happened, or even the goodness of the moment we are enjoying. That’s part of it but not all. Because somehow we have to learn to connect experiences. And that’s where the gathering comes in.
I’m still with You on the mountaintop. And now You, Jesus, have commanded the disciples to clean up all the leftovers from all those people. Imagine this, that after they collect the leftovers from the five thousand plus people they had twelve baskets of scraps from the five barley loaves alone! People knew what had happened and they believed in You and were going to force You to become king. But we’re going to focus on the gathering of the leftovers today.
I think I always have to be cautious of the times when You allow me to be satisfied or filled. When You answer my prayers and everything is good, it’s not just enough to sit back and enjoy it. I have a calling. It’s to share what You are doing with others. Part of that is by telling. But it’s not just about words alone. I need to show and share. And I think that’s part of the point here. Everyone could have just sat back and enjoyed the answer and their full tummies. But You refocussed them on what really happened by having the scraps picked up. I bet that really made the disciples think, because they knew exactly what had taken place. And now they were strolling the battlefield so to speak looking at all the spoils and having to rethink it all through. I wonder if they were talking to the people about it too?
You have done so many wonderful and even miraculous things in my life. Sometimes I don’t think about them enough. But I think I need to retrain myself to keep going over the things You have done. I’m starting to do that more. Because I see a danger if I don’t. If I forget what You’ve already done, I have a tendency to get discouraged and to start to look back at the impossible situation instead of the Devouring Fire God who can handle everything. So it’s not enough for me to be satisfied and content with answered prayers. I must use it rightly.
How do I use that rightly? Well, the more I sit back and think about all the times You’ve shown Yourself to me, the more I am amazed at Your intervention in my life and at Your love and watchcare over me. I can even see things including childhood dreams that You placed in my life that have bearing on who You planned for me to be today. And I’ve lived a half a century now and some things are just falling into place in a way I can see and that I’ve been waiting for. But that just gives me more hope that You are going to bring Your will to pass in me. And then there’s the amazing stuff like feeding the five thousand.
Each year for the past four years You have been providing new hearing aids for people in the Philippines who can’t afford them. Right now that’s about $50,000 worth. I could never provide that. Every year You bring together the money needed not only for our mission costs but for needs of some missionaries and sponsor children too. You provide generous people who help. You bring together new brothers and sisters in Christ that need each other because You are fitting the pieces of Your puzzle together. And this is hardly picking up the fragments.
But every time I pick up those fragments, every time I think about the images You have left in my mind about those circumstances and more, I am strengthened and You are made more. I need to be constantly reminded to not lose those fragments. It’s so important. Sometimes I even go back over the fragments of our quiet times together. There have been times that it has made me cry because I can’t believe it came from me. I couldn’t have written it without Your influence and I reread the fragment and realize how wonderful You are all over again to share Yourself with me. And I need it just as much now, whatever the truth was, as I did then. And it has nothing to do with me and any writing skills, but everything to do with You choosing to spend time with me and share with me just like on that mountaintop with all those people. That’s what these writings are, fragments picked up from You and saved in a basket as a witness to myself and others of Your overflowing nature.
So, Lord, keep me ever mindful not only of what You are doing in the present but of what You have already done. And let me not waste those fragments. Let me constantly be about holding on to them and remembering them and sharing them. What I can write down or take pictures of, let me. And what I can hold in my mind, keep it there and bring it out over and over again. Because there is danger in forgetting. The disciples totally forgot about this experience by the time they got to the next mountaintop. And You had to reteach them and remind them to pick up those fragments again. This isn’t a new truth, Lord. Moses gave this warning in Deuteronomy 4:9 “Be on your guard! Make certain that you do not forget, as long as you live, what you have seen with your own eyes. Tell your children and your grandchildren…” You are still giving me this warning today. Well, as I rely on Your Holy Spirit, continually remind me of all Your wondrous works in my life, in Your Word, and in the lives of those around me. You know, I think sometimes people get tired of hearing me, but I can’t help it, I like talking about You and Your works in the lives of people better than anything else.