Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Hope in the Basket #thankfulin(F)All

I was reading the story of Jesus feeding the hungry multitude with a tiny lunch consisting of 5 loaves and 2 fish. Most of us know the story and were probably introduced to it on a flannel board during Sunday school class. Just in case you need your memory refreshed, let me remind you that Jesus took the lads small lunch, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to the disciples to feed the people. Then, when it was all said and done, they took up twelve baskets of leftovers. Those leftover, broken pieces are what caught my attention recently. 

Think with me if you will, of how many baskets it would have taken to feed that many people compared to the twelve that was left over. I imagine the scale wouldn't easily be balanced out. In my mind's eye, I can visualize the grocery haul of a large family preparing for Thanksgiving dinner, complete with every trimming imaginable, with family members from near and far. Compare this spread to the amount of food fed a homeless person on Thanksgiving at a local shelter. I think that will work! Do you get the picture?

The leftovers weren't substantial, but were significant.

We're spoiled here in America and a lot of people think very little of throwing away the leftovers after a couple of days. Why, some people I know won't even think of touching leftovers. That's fine, to each his own, but look at this beautiful visual God gave me: 

He never lets any fragment that He's allowed to be blessed and broken go to waste.


After feeding the multitude, Jesus didn't discard what He had broken and blessed. I heard it said recently that God can't use anything without first breaking it. That's great news for you and I! When I think of those leftovers, I think of how lives are broken, dreams are shattered, people with hurting, wounded hearts who wonder at times if there's anything left to live for. Individuals who feel they have nothing left to offer. Nothing to give. We all know people who fit into this category, and we might even place ourselves there at certain seasons in life when we feel there's no hope.

The beautiful thing about our Lord is that He never chooses to waste anything. Those pieces which are no longer needed or useful to feed the crowd, He carefully sees that they are gathered together again. He doesn't choose to waste brokenness in our lives either. When we're broken, He sees an opportunity for His strength to work in our lives. He can work with that. When we're torn, He sees a chance to shine from deep within our places of hurt. He loves to work with leftovers. Our shattered dreams can still be salvaged when we place our lives in His hands. 

He longs to take up our broken, "un-useable" fragments and 

make something beautiful out of them. 

He longs for us to bring Him glory as He shines brightly through what we deem as ugly and broken. Friend, don't let what your situation looks like presently determine your worth. God can redeem even the most useless pieces when we allow Him to do the work He desires. Broken into beautiful! If your life is a botched up mess, there's hope in the basket.

How exciting to be a broken fragment or a leftover! True, we might not feel substantial, but we are significant to God. We are of unmistakable, unimaginable worth. We don't need a lot to offer Him, He can do amazing things with our brokenness.  There's hope in the basket ~ just you wait and see.