“So when they were filled, He said to His disciples, “Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost.” Therefore they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten. Then those men, when they had seen the sign that Jesus did, said, “This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.”
Last week’s message looked at how bread and fish were multiplied when Jesus thanked the Father and began to break the food and pass it on. If you have been praying for a breakthrough in your finances, today’s message may hold a key.
Extreme generosity but zero waste. Five thousand men were fed, plus probably thousands of women and children, who had as much as they wanted and may have even taken away bags of food when they left! There was an abundance of food, much more than the people could eat. However, Jesus instructed the disciples to gather up the remnants because he wanted nothing to be wasted or “lost”. The Lord Jesus was reflecting the heart of the Father – extreme generosity but zero waste! Stewardship is important to the Lord. It involves not only faithfulness in giving but also a responsibility towards minimizing waste. There are many nations of the world who may have been once extremely blessed and prosperous but are now experiencing economic difficulties. The same is true of many organizations or families who experience radical prosperity in one generation but barely survive in the next. I believe that one of the reasons is poor stewardship. The Word of God does not tell us what Jesus had the disciples do with the twelve baskets of food which were gathered up. I would like to think that some hungry people or animals were fed after the meeting that day, but what we know is that He wanted none of it wasted. Those of us who are parents would probably never serve more food into the plate of a child who was not consuming what he already had, or who disposes of it in secret. Our Abba loves to see His kids experiencing His blessing and walking in it, but He calls us to be faithful and responsible stewards of everything He has given us. He wants us to cut out waste. (To whom much is given, much is required.) You may have many unutilized assets lying around which you can put to good use or bless someone else with, or even realize for Kingdom (or other) purposes. Be assured that it would be well worth your while identifying these things and doing something with them. You would be making room for something better the Father wants to place in your life, or for what you have been praying and waiting for!
There is a significance in the numbers which we see mentioned in this account. There were five loaves and three fish, and five thousand men who were fed. Five is the number of grace and three the number of the Trinity. There were twelve baskets of the remnants, and twelve is a number we see frequently in both the Old and the New Testaments of the Bible, (Twelve tribes of Israel, twelve apostles of Jesus, twelve trees in Revelations etc) because twelve represents the perfection of divine government. As you read this message today, declare that you are a citizen of the Kingdom and subject to the perfect government of Heaven. Claim the grace of God which is sufficient for all your needs, and the reality and love of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit upon your life. It could be that you made decisions (financial or otherwise) which were not the best for you and resulted in losses and difficulties, but God’s grace is abounding towards you today. This is your opportunity to come before Him and repent for leaving Him out of your decisions, and to invite Him back into the driving seat. You are not expected to grit your teeth and struggle through in your own strength. God’s grace is available to you through the blessed Holy Spirit, and if you receive His grace, you are rising up victorious! It is never too late to partner with Him and see a radical transformation in every aspect of your life. You and Jesus are a mighty and powerful force, and there is no telling what God will do when you start to receive His grace, honor His presence and become a good steward of His blessing.
Dear friend, let me remind you today that God has good plans for you, and that you have already stepped into them because of the blood of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit upon your life. In the same way that the bread was broken and all the people were amply fed, the body of Jesus was broken as an all sufficient atonement for all people and for all time. Because of His sacrifice, there will always be sufficient (and more!) for those of us who enter in – salvation, healing, deliverance, and freedom of body, spirit and soul. His grace is sufficient for you today and always! May His Kingdom come and His will be done in every aspect of your life, in Jesus’ mighty name, amen!
Minoli Haththotuwa, 11 September 2013