“When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.”
John 6:12 (KJV)
How are you? I have been writing posts on the topic of thanksgiving during the month of November. At first glance, John 6:12 might not seem like a topic of thanksgiving. There is no word that resembles “thanks”, “thankfulness”, “thank you”, “thankful”, “giving thanks”, or “thanksgiving” in the verse. Yet, to me, it fits in so many ways.
Let’s refresh our memory about what happened before this verse. Jesus just fed about or over five thousand people starting with five barley loaves and two small fish. (John 6:9-10) Now, we are hearing that there are leftovers.
Before we dive into meaning and thoughts about John 6:12, let’s think about our food practices for a moment. How often do we forget that we have something in the fridge and it gets pushed aside just to spoil? How often do we have leftovers and not want to eat them, so we just throw them away?
I don’t know about you, but Thanksgiving Day is a prime time to have leftovers. And, once we look into it and ponder it awhile, I think we will see that John 6:12 has more to do with thanksgiving than leftovers.
So, what can we learn from the words in John 6:12? Well, from the first part of the verse we can see that the people were filled. It wasn’t just a snack or a crumb that Jesus gave the people to “hold them over” until they could eat again. They were filled!
I have to wonder just how thankful everyone in the crowd was that Jesus gave them such a gift. I mean, not only did Jesus perform a miracle right in front of them, but also they got to eat of its bounty. It must have been an awesome experience!
From the words in John 6:12, we can also tell how Jesus feels about wasting food. The Bible has a number of verses about not wasting things, so I am guessing that waste of any sort is not anything that Jesus likes. We can learn from this verse, that it isn’t good to be wasteful.
Also, I think being wasteful is not a way to show thankfulness. Remember, Jesus gave thanks for the barley loaves and fish before they were multiplied. Did people give thanks after they were received? Would they have thrown away the leftovers if Jesus hadn’t told his disciples to go pick up them up? What do you do with your leftovers?
I can’t help but think that maybe this verse is about more than food. I think we can look at it and also ponder how we look at everything God gives us. Are we wasteful about our home, our family, our vehicle, our friends, our possessions, our body, our land, or our time? Are we wasteful of our thoughts, emotions, spirit, presence, or life? Are we wasteful of our skills or talents? Are we wasteful of our impressions, expressions, guidance, or care?
There are many ways to be wasteful. It isn’t just throwing away leftovers instead of eating them or forgetting that something was in the fridge and letting it go bad. Wasteful can be in many forms. It can be in the form of not keeping up the maintenance on your vehicle or not letting things get in a state of disrepair, so they don’t last as long as their potential duration. Being wasteful can come in the form of not valuing a person, their talents, or skills that God puts into your path. Wastefulness can come in the form of not embracing the “personal development” opportunities that God puts in front of you. I am thinking about all those times when God says to reach outside of our comfort zone and rely on Him and we say…. “No, we are too scared.” I am sure we could spend all kinds of time pondering about the meaning of wastefulness. There are so many ways to be wasteful!
Now, let’s consider not only our own wastefulness, but also the wastefulness of those around us. Are we convicted for just our own wastefulness or are we also convicted for not trying to dissuade the wastefulness in others? It might seem like we are only convicted about our own wastefulness. After all, in Deuteronomy 24:16 (KJV) we read, “The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.” That doesn’t sound like we are to be convicted for other people’s wastefulness. However, we also have verse like Colossians 3:16 which tells us to admonish one another and Hebrews 10:24 which tells us to provoke each other to do good things. So, maybe we are convicted if we don’t at least encourage others not to be wasteful or show them that it isn’t a good thing to do. Maybe we can even brainstorm ways to be less wasteful. And, of course it is always good to encourage each other to use our gifts, talents, blessings, resources, knowledge, thoughts, feelings, time, and life to the fullest.
There is something else about John 6:12 that we can wonder. Do you know what it is? Are you wondering it too? We all know that God knows all and can do all. He knew how much each would eat. So, how come when He multiplied the fish and barley, He didn’t make just enough? I know I sometimes make extra on purpose, so that I can use it for multiple meals and in different ways. That way, I don’t always have to cook every meal. I can just pop something in the microwave. (Well, my hubby does most of the cooking, because I don’t care for cooking. But… I have cooked and have done that, and so does he.)
But, it isn’t like the disciples were just going to gather the leftovers, wrap them in foil or plastic wrap, and put them in the fridge. They gathered the leftovers into baskets, which they would probably have to carry for quite a distance. So, why create the extra food, so that they would have to carry it?
Obviously, we may not ever know the real answer to that. We might not even be called to question it. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if it wasn’t to teach us multiple things. Maybe it was as pragmatic as the fact that He knew that Jesus and the disciples would need food to eat later on. Maybe it was to tell us that it is okay to have leftovers and they should be valued as well as the original meal.
The reason could be something above and beyond the pragmatic though. It could be that God wants to show us that when we give thanks, when we ask, and when we have faith, that He can and will give us even something even better and even more than what we ask. It could be to show us that He is an awesome God and cares for us and provides for us more than we can ever imagine. What do you think?
Thank you for being such an awesome God. Thank you for creating us and for providing for us. Thank you for the meaning blessings, gifts, and resources you give us. Thank you for the love you have for us. Thank you for your Word and for your Son, Jesus. Help us to not be wasteful, but to be thankful and value the gifts you give us instead. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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Reflective questions for John 6:12 (KJV):
*What does John 6:12 mean to me?
*What are all the ways it means to be wasteful?
*Am I wasteful?
*In what ways and in what areas of my life am I wasteful?
*Do I encourage others to not be wasteful?
*Am I thankful for the gifts and blessings God gives me?
*What other verses remind me of John 6:12?
*What other verses help me to understand John 6:12?
*What can I do to better heed the words in John 6:12?
If you liked this post, you may also like the following posts:
*2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Now, it is your turn:
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Happy Thanksgiving! Have a great week! And... remember to be mindful about wasting. God bless.
“Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;”
Ephesians 5:20 (KJV)
How are you? As I mentioned last week, I thought it would be a nice idea to have a group of “thankfulness” posts this November, since we think of November as the month of thanksgiving. Last week’s post was on Psalms 105:1. You can read it here, if you haven’t already.
This week’s verse is Ephesians 5:20.
In Ephesians 5, Paul writes lists of things we should and shouldn’t do as Christians. One of those things that we should do is to give thanks to God, as we see in Ephesians 5:20. In the previous verse (Ephesians 5:19), we are called to do things such as “speaking to [ourselves] in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in [our} heart to the Lord;”. So, are these things suggested ways to “give thanks” to God or other things on the list of things to do?
How do you give thanks to God? I think that Ephesians 5:19 can be taken in both ways. I think that singing psalms and God’s praises can be one way that we give thanks to God. I think that any time we thank God, show Him appreciation, rely on Him, testify of His love, and give Him the glory; we are giving thanks to God.
Although, if we look closely, Ephesians 5:20 tells us more than to “give thanks to God”. It also tells us to give thanks “always” for “all things” unto God. Hmmm. Being called to “give thanks to God” might sound easy enough to do, especially as you are growing in faith and knowing that we have so much about which to give Him thanks. However, giving thanks “always” and for “all things” might sound more difficult.
So, are we called to say “thank you God for…, thank you God for…, thank you God for…, thank you God for…, every minute of every day about every thing that we experience whether it is good or bad? You might have a different perspective on it, but I think it is taking it too literally and out of context.
I think it is good to realize that we have so much about which to thank God, including for our life, skills, talents, world, friends, family, and so much more. It is good to realize that the things “we accomplish” and the things “we do” couldn’t be done without God. We are His creations and He has created us to be able to do the things we can do. So, yes, I think God wants us to learn to be humble and thank Him, giving Him the credit instead of taking the credit for ourselves. And, just as most of us would thank someone for a gift or a kindness, we are also called to thank God for gifts and kindnesses.
Okay. Being thankful often might be something we can learn to do. But… are we really called to give thanks for all the bad things we experience too? My thought? I think we remember that God doesn’t “give us” all the bad things. However, He does help us through them. And, He uses them as “teaching tools” and uses them to “help us grow closer to Him”.
So, I think we need to be thankful, even in difficult times. However, I think we need to watch what we say and how we say it. For example, if we have a car accident, I don’t think we would say, “thank you for this accident”. God didn’t make us or give us an accident. I think we would rather say something like, “thank you for helping me through this accident. Help me to be thankful that it wasn’t worse. Use it to help me get closer to you”.
There is one thing more that we are called to do in Ephesians 5:20. We are called to give thanks in Jesus’ name. I found a post by Pastor JD Greear that explains this part very well. Please, click here to read it.
Thank you for being our Heavenly Father. Thank you for giving us your Son to be, not only our Lord and Savior, but also our ultimate role model and guide to you. Help us to heed your calling to give you thanks always and help us to do so no matter our circumstances. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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Reflective questions for Ephesians 5:20 (KJV):
*What does Ephesians 5:20 mean to me?
*How do I give thanks to God?
*What does it mean to give thanks to God always?
*What does it mean to give thanks to God in all things?
*Do I really have to give thanks for “bad things” too?
*What does it mean to give thanks to God in the name of Jesus?
*What other verse or verses remind me of Ephesians 5:20?
*How can I better heed the words in Ephesians 5:20?
If you enjoyed this post, you may enjoy one of these posts as well:
*Do We Claim to be Self-made or God-made?
*3 Things We are Called to do in Psalms 105:1
Now, it is your turn:
I am so glad you are here. I hope you are enjoying the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations. If you feel led, please feel free to comment or contact me. I look forward to reading what you have to say. May God bless you and guide you.
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This is Jodi. I am so glad you are here! I am a Christian and life-long learner. I enjoy sharing and encouraging others. I pray you are blessed by this blog. Thank you for being here.