I’m not talking about food—I’m talking about the abundance of blessings that God has given you and even what He has in store for your future. Maybe you have noted some basic blessings, but are you even aware of the abundance? It’s so easy to meander through this life unaware of the overflow. What is your lesson in the leftovers?
You have all probably heard about the time when Jesus fed the five-thousand with only 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish, right? It’s one that I learned as a child in Sunday school and have heard in sermons countless times over the years. But I read it today and had a revelation! In John 6, Jesus challenges Philip with a framed question. He asks him how they will be able to buy enough bread for all of the people. Philip responds with defeat, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” Jesus knew what was about to happen, but he tested Philip’s faith.
I discovered that I am a lot like Philip! I confine my options to only logical, earthly, limited solutions. When God gives me an idea that seems way bigger than anything I could logically pull off on my own, I feel defeated immediately. “That will never work! I don’t have what it would take.” But recently, during 21 Days of Prayer, I felt God convict me of this and ask me, “Why do you limit my resources to what you currently have?” And, because He is so faithful, He then showed me this story to teach me to think more like Jesus and less like Philip.
Feeding 5,000 people seemed impossible for the human mind, considering the available resources. (Scholars actually believe that the men totaled 5,000, but in fact, there were most likely many more women and children as well—possibly 20,000 people total!) But Jesus has no limitations to resources, my friends! His power transcends beyond our earthly constraints! It’s the principal of multiplication. He takes whatever we can offer, no matter how insignificant it may seem to us, and multiplies it to bless His people…and will even bless us with the leftovers.
After everyone was full, Jesus told his disciples, “Now gather the leftovers, so that nothing is wasted.” So they picked up the pieces and filled twelve baskets with scraps left by the people who had eaten from the five barley loaves. (John 6:12-13)
Not only did they feed the 5,000+ people, but there were leftovers. Twelve baskets of leftovers, to be exact. When our resources seem limited, God can bless the offering and provide the abundance! It’s so illogical; but God is, was, and always will be a God of miracles! What are you faced with today that feels confined by logical, earthly limitations? Has He given you a vision or a dream that seems so daunting that you are unwilling to make the first move?
I love when I read a story in the Bible that I’ve known my whole life, and suddenly, He teaches me something new. I learned a lesson in the leftovers today. I don’t have to wait until I have enough. I just need to trust Him, discover what I have to offer, ask Him to bless it, and allow Him to do His work.
For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you. (Corinthians: 9-10)
What about you? Search your heart and discover what you actually do have to offer Him. Maybe it’s not loaves and fish, but maybe it is time, talents or abilities, or even money (or any other resource you may have on hand). In order for it to multiply, you have to give it away. Don’t withhold the offering because you don’t feel like you have enough to carry out a God-sized mission. Just take the first step—believe that God can multiply your offering and even leave you with leftovers! Then, humbly ask Him to bless it and let it go. May the God of multiplication reward your humble offering and bless you with the leftovers!
Dear Father in heaven, thank you for the leftovers. Forgive me for limiting your provision to the confines of my earthly view. Please soften my heart and show me whatever I can offer so that I may bless others and see the power of your multiplication. I surrender my plans and hand them all over to you. I trust you, Jesus. Help me to get out of the way and allow you to do more than I could ever ask or imagine. Amen.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21)