When I was a child, the turkey’s wishbone always held a bit of awe and fascination. I never paid attention to what happened to the leftover meat or stuffing—I just wondered if I’d have a chance at breaking the wishbone before someone else did. I could not have cared less about the mashed potatoes, buttery corn, and sweet potato casserole that were sealed in Tupperware containers after dinner. The pumpkin and cherry pies did not tempt me nearly as much as the vanilla ice cream my grandmother probably had in the freezer. If we had dinner rolls, I don’t remember them, but I’m sure they were delicious.
Leftovers after a bounteous Thanksgiving feast can crowd a refrigerator pretty quickly. There’s probably no other meal, except maybe Christmas dinner, that boasts of such variety and volume of food. For the week following Thanksgiving, we enjoy hot turkey sandwiches, turkey noodle soup, turkey divan, turkey rice casserole, and any number of turkey dishes we can create until finally the turkey carcass gives up the ghost and gets tossed in the trash can.
Jesus appreciated leftovers. He really knew what to do with leftovers! After He fed the 5,000 and another crowd of 4,000, there were significant amounts of leftovers, as evidenced by the account in Mark 8:16-21. The disciples got into a boat to leave, and… At this, they began to argue with each other because they hadn't brought any bread. Jesus knew what they were saying, so He said, "Why are you arguing about having no bread? Don't you know or understand even yet? Are your hearts too hard to take it in? You have eyes—can't you see? You have ears—can't you hear? Don't you remember anything at all? When I fed the 5,000 with five loaves of bread, how many baskets of leftovers did you pick up afterward?"
"Twelve," they said.
"And when I fed the 4,000 with seven loaves, how many large baskets of leftovers did you pick up?"
“Seven,” they said.
"Don't you understand yet?" He asked them.
What didn’t the disciples understand? They had just witnessed two phenomenal miracles of provision as Jesus multiplied five loaves of bread with enough to feed 5,000 people, and then He multiplied seven loaves of bread to feed 4,000 people! One loaf of bread in my household of seven all but disappears till each of us makes a sandwich for his lunch. Imagine the quantity of bread needed to feed 5,000 and an additional 4,000 hungry people!
Jesus takes care of us. He tells us not to worry about what we will eat or wear—in fact, He says, in Matthew 6:25-27, "That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn't life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don't plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren't you far more valuable to Him than they are?”
If we are about our Father’s business, as the disciples clearly were when they passed out food to the crowds of people, the Lord will surely provide for us! Jesus can create incredible meals from leftovers that would make Martha Stewart’s head spin! Likewise, He can create incredible miracles of provision and blessing from the leftover rubble in our lives.
Maybe there are leftovers of a relationship, a failed business, a broken dream, a damaged heart in your life. Aren't you far more valuable to Him than the birds? Yes, you are. Give Him your leftovers, and see what He will make from them!
© 2021, Chris Werre