When There Are Leftovers

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They all ate as much as they wanted, and afterward, the disciples picked up twelve baskets of leftovers! (Luke 9:17 NLT)


Growing up I never cared much for leftovers. Oftentimes “leftovers” meant a buffet of previous meals, devoid of their original taste but heated to ensure that they were somewhat palatable. Today, when I’m at a restaurant and my plate still has some food on it, I decline the “to go” box. Seafood alfredo four days later just doesn’t have the same appeal as on the day I ordered it.

Nothing, really, is worse than leftovers (well, maybe the one exception is pizza…but I digress). No food should be put through the test of being reintroduced several days later. Nothing is worse except nothing itself – no food whatsoever. Especially when you have hungry mouths to feed.

In the oft-told Sunday school story about the feeding of the five thousand (see Luke 9), the disciples found themselves faced with leftovers. And what a lesson that must have been. Imagine: They are gathered in the middle of nowhere—“a desolate place,” according to verse 12. The crowds have discovered where Jesus is and followed him, an attentive bunch of five thousand. All is going well until the disciples realize that there isn’t a food court for miles.

Clearly these men weren’t wedding planners. No foresight had been given to dinner plans, and as evening is settling in, they are panic stricken.  They have the gall to tell Jesus to get rid of the crowd.

And, in a very bold move, Jesus comes back with “You feed them!”

Have you ever been in a similar situation? You can’t believe your circumstances. You’re out of your league, not sure what to do. Whatever the next move is, it’s certainly up to the Lord. And his response back is—yep, you guessed it: You do it.

Have faith. Trust in me. And see what I will do through you.

Takes gumption, doesn’t it? And yet, even in our feeble faith we are never let down, never disappointed. Fact is, more often than not, we will find ourselves with leftovers, only these are rich, fresh, and abundant, pressed down with overflowing leftovers of God’s glory!


By Publisher Don Pape

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