My Granny was a frugal woman. We would recycle our Cocoa Cola bottles, carefully placing them back in the carton for their return trip to the store. Once there, we would put them in the big basket to the left as you walked in and let the cashier know as she rang up our purchases how many cartons we brought back. We got a little credit towards our grocery bill. Granny recycled out of necessity, not to be green but because we needed the green.
She would do things like rinse out our sandwich bags and reuse them in our lunches. She sewed most of my clothes, saving the scraps to make what was called “rag rugs.” She grew a huge garden and canned most of our food, so we were always “clean-platers” because she worked hard for what was on the table.
She would keep the slivers of soap and put them all together so at some point you had a “new” bar of soap to use. That made for an interesting bath time. There would be a bouquet of feeling Zestfully clean with an underlying hint of Irish Spring, the real beauty that Dove promised with an occasional grit of exfoliation from a sliver of Lava that surfaced to the top.
We lived on my Gramps’ one income, a blue-collar factory working man with an eighth-grade education who didn’t really bring in a lot of dough. But Granny could take that dough and make some really good stuff out of it! Nothing was wasted when I was a little girl.
I was listening to a talk by Jo Saxton from the 2019 IF conference recently. Her message was on a story as familiar as “the quiet old lady who was whispering hush” in the book Good Night Moon.
We find ourselves on a mountainside with 5000 or so of our closest friends, hiking our hardest after an acclaimed Miracle Maker, wanting to see what the hubbub is all about. We aren’t disappointed as lunch is served, bellies are filled and not one person goes hungry all because one boy’s Momma remembers to pack his lunch box with some fish and bread.
And Jesus gives thanks for what He has.
There’s no discounting the freakish amount of folks fed with such frugal findings nor the fact that the twelve disciples gathered twelve baskets so they, too, could have full bellies. It’s this line that Jesus says that’s got me thinking:
Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted. (John 6:12NIV)
Gather the pieces…
The pieces, that which is broken, gathered was the bread, something the Jewish culture considered to be a gift from God. It was required that scraps that fell on the ground during a meal be picked up. Think about their time in the dessert when manna, bread like wafers, fell from heaven as a provision when food was a luxury. I can imagine every morsel melting in their mouths, not in the mud.
Broken pieces. On the ground. Squandered away? No.
They were gathered up, put into baskets, enough to feed others.
The leftovers. The left behinds. The last of the least.
Gathered up and used to feed.
What if God can take our broken pieces and use them? What if He can take those parts that feel torn off like the crust that no one wants, the cast down, thrown away, torn apart, and useless and use them to feed those around us? What if we could have the courage to see those things that God breaks in us and around us as gifts from Him? Trusting Him, that He will, like He did so long ago, gather the pieces, and feed those that need fed from the basket of our own stories.
Let nothing be wasted.
Wasted, in the original language, is to be lost to the owner, anything that perishes.
What if we trusted that Jesus means what He says? He will let nothing be wasted. Not one single thing.
Not one tear shed.
Not one pain felt.
Not one loss grieved.
Not one diagnosis given.
Not one dream dashed.
Not one (more) diaper changed.
Not one career move made.
Not one failure flop.
Not one guilt trip taken.
Not one misery met.
Not one stormy season.
Not one prodigal person.
Not one dry dessert.
Not one single thing is lost to the Owner of us who claim Christ as our Savior.
He will gather up our pieces, just like He did on that mountainside so many years ago and feed the people from our baskets of broken if we’re brave enough to let Him. If we’ll trust Him with the story we’re walking right now. If we’re still enough to be allow Him to work through us and use us as only He can do.
He sees us. You and me. Waiting to be gathered. Feeling like the crust no one wants. Waiting to see how He’ll use this season we’re in. Will you trust Him to do what He says He will do?
That one line: Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.
May it be so.
I am undone.