Now the day began to wear away, and the twelve came and said to him, “Send the crowd away to go into the surrounding villages and countryside to find lodging and get provisions, for we are here in a desolate place.” But he said to them, “You give them something to eat.” They said, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish—unless we are to go and buy food for all these people.” For there were about five thousand men. And he said to his disciples, “Have them sit down in groups of about fifty each.” And they did so, and had them all sit down. And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing over them. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. And they all ate and were satisfied. And what was left over was picked up, twelve baskets of broken pieces. (Luke 9:12-17)
As we finish up on this section, it wraps up with Jesus’ miracle of multiplying the loaves and fishes, but there are some things to take notice of here. The people sought out Jesus without even thinking about provisions for themselves even though they followed Him to a desolate place. And even further yet, Jesus didn’t stop at giving them spiritual food, He also provided physical food.
Jesus knows our every need and can provide for all of them. In Matthew 6, Jesus taught on how God feeds the birds and clothes the flowers and He said to seek first the kingdom of God and those things would be added because God knows what we need. The principle of seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and a need, like hunger, being cared for is seen directly within this situation. The people sought Jesus as He taught on the kingdom of God, even following Him to a place where provisions could not be found, and when they needed food, He fed them.
It is notable that after everyone, over 5,000 people, had eaten until satisfied, that the pieces left over filled twelve baskets. Each disciple would have a basket of leftover pieces to carry. I could imagine that anytime they encountered a similar basket they’d remember that day; that when the situation looked bleak and they were feeling desperate in a desolate place, that God was there and He provided.
Lastly, we’re going to shift the focus onto something a little different – those twelve baskets were filled with broken pieces.
The Broken Pieces
Most people would have seen random broken pieces and left them behind as worthless, but Jesus wanted all those broken pieces gathered and collected into baskets. Those broken pieces in themselves, filling twelve baskets, were worth gathering to Jesus. If you’re feeling broken, know that God sees those broken pieces and He cares. Some people, maybe even you, may see the broken pieces of your life as having no value and thinking they should be discarded, but God sees them as testaments to the miracle He’s done or is doing in you.
As you walk through this life, wounds will occur and pieces of you may feel like they get broken off. Those broken pieces could be a result of sin, whether your own or other’s done to you, or they could be pieces that God has chipped away as He’s molding and shaping you into the image of Jesus. Regardless of what the pieces are from, the person you are today is a product of those pieces which are no longer part of you. And just as the broken pieces were what was left over after all the people had eaten to full satisfaction – when you feast on what Jesus offers you, you can be fully satisfied in Christ even if you have broken pieces left over.
We never want to dwell on the past or our broken pieces, but remembering and being able to look back on what God’s done and how far God has brought us is important. Those pieces are no longer part of you, but ultimately, your broken pieces, no matter how they came about, are part of your testimony and evidence of God’s wonderous work in you. Don’t let your broken pieces be left behind and forgotten, because they do still have value even after the miracle has been completed. Gather those pieces and store them in a basket to remember the work God has done and is doing in you and let those broken pieces be an Ebenezer for God’s glory.