A Devotional by Margot Cioccio
John 6:1-14 and this is the portion that grabbed my attention.
"Gather the leftovers so nothing is wasted" Jesus tells the disciples after feeding the 5000 with some barley loves and fish from a young boys lunch. It always strikes me as odd to think of God's interest in leftovers. It is the remnant that God often takes up. The leftovers of the people. The people and things that would seem to amount to nothing.
Isaiah 10:21 says " A remnant will return, a remnant of Jacob will return to the Mighty God. Though your people be like the sand by the sea, Israel only a remnant will return." In the story from John 6, we don't know what is done with the leftovers. We just know that Jesus wanted them collected in baskets so nothing would be wasted.
We start with a sack lunch, feed a multitude and collect 12 baskets of leftovers. - Quite a day!
I suppose the Lord always starts with something... a mustard seed of faith, a sack lunch, the willingness to believe and to follow. When compared to the great God of the Universe even our very best is just a drop in a bucket. Yet some how, God will take our, oh so inadequate drops that we surrender to Him and transform them beyond our wildest imaginations.
Even King David, who in the estimations of history was exceedingly great, saw himself as yet another drop in the bucket. He is the least favored of his brothers. When Samuel comes to anoint the next king the other brothers are paraded before him. At last in exasperation he says. "Are there no more?" Only then does the family acknowledge that there is another son, David.
"Who am I, Lord God, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?" says David later in his life. Maybe that's what made David great. He knew what God could do with a couple of stones and a shepherd boy.
I think we often suffer from low self esteem. I seem to struggle endlessly with the feelings of "I'm not ______ enough" Though out my life I have had to face that giant of self doubt head on and remind it that I may be just a insignificant drop, but I am a drop in God's bucket. I've seen what God can do with drops of nothing much. I push thorough my self doubt believing that God will do something with my meager contribution. Over and over I have seen God provide opportunities, solutions, and creativity that are far beyond my abilities to mastermind, or beyond my ability to even pull all the loose ends together.
That day, in our story, there were twelve baskets of leftovers. Were they served up as a late night snack to the folks that sat listening into the wee hours of the night, or sent home with the poor. We are not told. All we know is that those leftovers were important to Jesus. I think that it is important to God that we not waste what He has provided in excess to our needs.
Give and it shall be given to you, pressed down, shaken together and running over. In our small sightedness we easily focus on our lack when there are the resources of heaven available to us if we would simply ask. I suppose in asking, we must face our inadequacy. We have to realize that its never been about us alone. It is when we surrender our drop to Him who holds the oceans and the universe in His hands that amazing things begin to happen before our very eyes.
We quickly want to create a success formula with repeatable steps as if to manufacture the presence of God. I think God is already looking for the next seemingly impossible situation and the most hopeless drop in the bucket folks to astound and stretch with His never ending and wonderful possibilities of prevision. Ultimately it becomes yet another display of His great love.
Prayer: Lord, I come to you in my insignificance. All that I am and all that I ever might aspire to be is nothing compared to your glory. Yet you can do so much with a mustard seed of faith, a pinch of belief and a dash of trust. Thank you that I am a drop in your bucket. I watch with expectation to see what you will do with those things that I choose to surrender to you.