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If you’re looking for recipe ideas for leftovers, you’re in the right place. Well, sort of. My wannabe chef heart can’t wait to toss leftover Thanksgiving turkey with pasta and a few other ingredients to make my Tuscan Turkey Pasta salad. But we’re not the only ones pondering what to do with the morsels left after a meal.
As a large crowd gathered around Jesus, He had compassion on them and healed their sick. By evening, His disciples faced the dilemma of feeding the crowd. Their solution was to send them away.
Instead, using a young boy’s lunch of two fish and five loaves of bread, Jesus performs a miracle and feeds over five thousand people. (see Matthew 14:13-21)
They all ate as much as they wanted, and afterward, the disciples picked up twelve baskets of leftovers. – Matthew 14:20-21 NLT
Surely, gathering the leftovers was more than a clean-up effort. I imagine the daily lunch menu was “fish sandwiches” until the baskets were empty.
God is never wasteful. Whether it was the contents of the baskets or the fragmented contents of our lives, He has a redemptive purpose in mind.
Recently, a friend shared her “leftover” story with me. As I share it (with her permission) see if it prompts you to consider His intentions too.
My friend, Carol, took her husband to an upscale restaurant for his birthday. She ordered the Chilean sea bass. It was tasty and the leftover portion was a welcome addition for lunch the next day.
After dinner, they waited outside for the valet to bring their car. But they were unaware of the opportunity waiting for Carol. Her kind face, and the aroma from the restaurant bag she carried, drew a hungry and disheveled man to make a request:
“Excuse me ma’am. Are you going to eat those leftovers?” His question brought an embarrassing tension to Carol’s heart.
She really wanted the fish. He really needed it more.
She’d spent the evening dining in opulence. He emerged from the streets in obscurity.
It was her fish; but Jesus was calling her to give out of His compassion.
Carol gave the man the fish and a smile. I believe Jesus smiled too. We have similar opportunities to respond to His prompting. But what will we do with our leftovers?
They may not come from a fancy restaurant, a social gathering or family feast. We may have encouragement “leftover” after we come through a difficult time. We may have prayers left unsaid after we become aware of a need or a crisis.
By God’s grace, we have some morsel of a miracle to give to someone else.
And yet, I can relate to my friend Carol. The embarrassing tensions in my heart reveal a selfish hesitation to release something I wouldn’t have without God’s grace. But in the multitude of His mercies, I succumb. In Christ, I have more than enough.
You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich. – 2 Corinthians 8:9 NLT
The man who approached my friend needed a meal. But the hunger in the human heart may need something else. Is there a morsel of forgiveness, kindness or wisdom we’re willing to share?
As we gather with family and friends or spend quiet time alone, may we remember the compassion Christ offers. We all need it — sometimes more than we know. And whether we’re the giver or receiver, it’s sure to bring hope for the heart and joy to the soul.
This post also appears on joyAwilliams.com!