The Leftovers

The Leftovers

July 28, 2012
Written by Daniel Hazard

John 6:12–13

"When they were satisfied, he told his disciples, ‘Gather up the fragments left over, so that nothing may be lost. So they gathered them up . . . they filled twelve baskets."

Reflection by Anthony B. Robinson

I've sometimes wondered if the thing that would really challenge us in the church isn't another budget shortfall, but a wild, overwhelming abundance. "Hey, we have $200,000 left over." That would be a challenge.

It appears to me we're often, in the church, really pretty comfortable struggling to make the budget, cutting the budget, making last-minute appeals. We know how to do that. It's in our comfort zone.

What would really be hard on us would be abundance, money or resources or grace in abundance. Abundance that challenged us to let go of our fears and to lose ourselves in and for God's mission and power. That would tough to handle.

When Jesus fed the 5,000 with five loaves and two fish - an amount the disciples thought could never possibly be enough - there were, get this, leftovers! Lots of leftovers. Twelve baskets full of leftovers.

Where Jesus is, John tells us again and again, there is enough and more than enough. There is abundance. (Check out John 2 where Jesus produces the equivalent of roughly 800 bottles of wine.)

Are we ready for that? Certainly not. Can we deal with the abundance of God? How about if today - call it a holy experiment - we trust that abundance?

At the end of the day, be sure to gather up the leftovers.


O Lord, help us to break loose into wild, abundant, confident faith every now and then, for your Son's sake. Amen.

About the Author
Anthony B. Robinson, a United Church of Christ minister, is a speaker, teacher and writer. His newest book is Called to Lead: Paul's Letters to Timothy for a New Day, and he is also the author of the just-published Book of Exodus: A God is still speaking Bible Study. Read his weekly reflections on the current lectionary texts at by clicking on Weekly Reading.

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