name='verify-v1'/> Big God - little d: July 2008

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


"After everyone was full, Jesus told his disciples, 'Now gather the leftovers, so that nothing is wasted.'” --John 6:12 (NLT)

I am not fond of leftovers. Even though I dutifully place them in the refrigerator, I usually ignore them until they begin to sprout sickly, black spots and unusual looking fur. The majority of them end up in the trashcan. I always find it easier to toss out food once it has genetically mutated.

Recently, I came across the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000 (John 6:1-13). I have heard/read this story many times and always assumed that the gathering of the leftovers was to validate the extravagance of Jesus' miracle. He didn't just feed them; he provided more than they needed (twelve baskets full)!

But this time, as I read the story from John 6, Jesus' words in verse 12 caught my attention, "Gather the leftovers so that nothing is wasted."

So that nothing is wasted...

As I ponder this concept of spiritual leftovers, I realize that God has gone to great lengths, during the past three years, to teach me the importance of gathering leftovers. On most days, I read from a One Year Bible and journal the Scripture(s) that stand out to me. I also jot down events from my life that have God's handprints all over them. Rather than get bogged down with complete sentences and paragraphs, I tend to write bullet points.

My journal entry for John 6:12 reads, "Leftovers - the bits and pieces that are left over, as a result of a miracle (God at work), are just as important to Jesus as the main course."

Even though I may be full, according to Jesus, the bits and pieces that remain are not to be wasted. The discipline of journaling allows me to gather the leftovers of my God experiences. On a regular basis, I go back and reflect on past journal entries. There, on the written page, God's faithfulness is impossible to deny because, in my own hand, I have logged a record of His miracles and the overflowing baskets of leftovers! Without fail, I discover new truths, gain clearer understanding, and find significance in a small detail where before there was none. And best of all, unlike the contents of my refrigerator, these leftovers never spoil!

Your extravagance knows no boundaries! Not only do You feed me but You provide leftovers that are a feast, in and of themselves. Forgive me for carelessly tossing out what comes from Your hand. There isn't a single detail from my experiences with You that should end up in the trashcan. Since the pieces left over were important to Jesus, may they be important to me. Teach me to appreciate the miracle of everyday moments. And, just as importantly, teach me to savor the leftovers that are not to be wasted. I love You. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Learning to Eat Solid Food

In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! --Hebrews 5:12

What follows are some thoughts that came forth after I was pondering our growth as people of faith. We don't start out with the heavy stuff (meat and potatoes). We start out with spiritual milk but it is always God's intention that our diet becomes more complex. God does not plan for any of us to keep drinking from a bottle...eventually we develop a set of teeth and the ability to feed ourselves. We learn how to hold a knife and fork and are expected to use them in order to put nutritious things to our lips.

When a child learns to eat solid food:

  • Stages or levels of food introduction -- milk, cereal, vegetables, fruit, meat -- definite order!
  • Pieces are cut into small bites
  • Attention is given to how difficult the food item is to chew and swallow
  • Small portions
  • Variety offered
  • Child encouraged to taste but not forced to partake or finish
  • Typically offered items of nutritional value vs. junk food
  • Understood that the child will prefer some things over others
  • Also understood that the child may be reluctant or flat out refuse to try something -- especially if it looks, feels, smells or tastes weird, unusual or different from normal menu
  • Will still turn back to familiar (milk) for comfort and satisfaction, especially early on
  • Food is adjusted as child gains more teeth - chewing ability
  • Child will eventually prefer solids to milk - greater satisfaction - hunger needs met more efficiently
  • More nutrition received when partaking from all the food groups vs. just milk
  • Growth internal and external is result
  • Beware of sweet tooth!

Father, You are the God who provides. You do not withhold milk or solids from me. And yet, I confess that I do not always turn to You when I am empty and hungry. Help me to be honest with You about my spiritual diet. Show me where I am in this process. Give me a fresh awareness of what I am feeding myself. Create in me the desire to feast on your Word and to dine in your presence. In Jesus' name, Amen.