I was eating Chick-fil-A (CFA) for lunch earlier this week (I know…I know…what can I say…I like CFA). As I finished the last of my chicken strips, I’m looking at an empty box (wishing I had more :))… at the scraps of fried chicken batter left over in the box. The crunchies. The only crunchies I love more than CFA’s are the ones at Long John Silvers. I love the crunchies!!! Perhaps as much as the chicken or fish itself. Do you eat the crunchies left over? Or do you discard them?
During Jesus’ ministry on Earth, he performed many miracles. One of the most well-known of them is the feeding of the five thousand with only two small fish and five loaves of bread. To us that seems amazing to comprehend. How often have we looked in the cupboard and thought “we have nothing to eat. How am I going to feed these kids with what little I have in here.” And here, Jesus takes what is barely enough to feed himself and his disciples…and multiplies it to feed thousands. He takes the meager (by the world’s definition) offering of a child (who gave all he had, by the way) and used it to reach so many more than could ever be reached without Christ. And as amazing as that is, it doesn’t end there. Not to be outdone (even by himself), Jesus takes it one step further. There’s something else within this miracle that is often overlooked.
“When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, ‘gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.‘ So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.” – John 6:12-13
It was miraculous in itself that Jesus fed thousands of people with so little. But then there were left overs!!! Thousands of people ate to their fill on just a couple fish and some chunks of bread! And as amazing as it is that there were twelve baskets of left overs, that’s not what I find truly awesome. How easy it would have been to discard the left overs. In the first place, he’s Jesus!!! The Son of God!!! He performed the miracle to feed that many people…don’t you think he could have fed them all with the exact amount of food needed to do so…without there being anything left over? Why did He choose to perform this miracle in a way that there were any left overs at all? I can’t answer that, because He is God…and I am not. But this I can say. He did…and then he took the time to gather the left overs. Why?
I’m not God, so I don’t know the answer to that. Perhaps He did it for dramatic effect…the shock factor. Maybe as a child his mom and dad would say “clear your plate Jesus…you put it on your plate, you eat it.” Or…perhaps he thinks there’s some usefulness in the “least of these”. He doesn’t tell us why he gathered the left overs, or for what purpose they were used…but throughout the Bible we find examples of God using the “least of these”, so I’ve gotta believe the latter is most likely the reason (although I can totally picture Mary and Joseph telling him to clear his plate. “You may be the Almighty sent to save the world…but around here we don’t waste food…my house my rules.” 🙂 )
So what’s he see in the scraps? I don’t know. But he sees something worthy of taking the time to gather them. He knows they have a use…a purpose. He has a plan for them. He doesn’t reveal to us what that plan was, but we can assume he used them for something…otherwise he wouldn’t have taken the time to gather them. Most days I feel like scraps…like the left overs…like I’m not worthy of the main course. I often feel like I’m worthless, not capable of being used for His glorious plan. I see the sin in my life that others around me don’t see…the sin that only God and I know about, and I begin to doubt…to question how He could use someone so filthy and putrid.
And on many days I feel like all I give God is my leftovers. Worse than the child who gave everything he had…his five loaves of bread and two fish, I often only give God a portion of what He’s given to me…a smidgen of my time and effort. And yet, he takes it and uses it to reach more than I could ever imagine possible. Why? I don’t know. Perhaps, because He can…because He is God…and I am not. What I do know is that I’ll never look at the left over crunchies the same again. Lord, use me as you will. May I be a crunchie for You! Amen.