P & F – Day 5. Thursday, March 30. 2017
DAY 5 – God Values The Leftovers
Do you like leftovers? Some members of my family (who shall be nameless) won’t eat them at all! The word itself, does have a certain dull ring to it: leftovers; fit only for the pig swill or the garbage can! This last week though, the word jumped out at me from John’s Gospel. John’s Gospel has leftovers in it!? Yes, right at Chapter 6, verse 12; Jesus’ command:
“Gather up the leftover fragments that nothing will be lost.” (ESV)
In truth, the whole phrase jumped out at me. Now you would be perfectly correct in pointing out to me: “Jesus was just talking about the slops, AJ.; don’t complicate it! Stick to the context!” Ah but I’ve always had problems with that: especially with the Gospel of John. He always seemed to write with two pens at once: the first for the circumstantial details, and the second for the real meaning underneath. Briefly, there’s no doubt that the Lord wanted to impress upon the disciples the magnitude of the miracle, and the way to do that would have been to count the baskets of leftovers taken from the measly five loaves and two little fish! But I think He was also saying something else. The leftovers are important. Yet they are so easy to overlook.
Our Saviour had a heart for the leftovers of society: tax collectors, prostitutes, sinners, foreigners; the demonized, the blind and the broken. At Luke 15:4, Jesus asks the outrageous question, “What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?” Who on earth would do such a thing? We would be concerned about the ninety-nine; the Church! Jesus proclaims an upside-down Kingdom that seems to defy common sense. All too often we can become so consumed with the ninety-nine who are safe and well inside the church, but we forget that The Church was established to advance the Kingdom of God. And the Kingdom of God is about gathering the lost or going after the one. I have this conviction that if we seek the lost, God will look after the ninety-nine in the wilderness!
AUTHOR: Tony Hilling
PERSONAL PRAYER: Lord Jesus, please help me to catch a clear vision of your Kingdom and all of its benefits and glory! Establishing your Kingdom here on earth has always been the big plan, and you birthed the church as the vehicle to make that happen. I pray today that as I ponder our devotional about the “leftovers” of our society, I will begin to view my world differently! Help me (as one of the safe ninety-nine) to take notice and then actively pursue the one who is lost in my sphere of influence today.
CORPORATE PRAYER: Lord, our church has so many great ministries and awesome programs but we are not very intentional in our efforts to go after the “leftovers” in our society; or the one’s in our city who are lost. Today, I pray for our leaders and our church body as a whole, to be stirred with fresh vision and new initiatives that will take us beyond the safety of our church walls and into the highways and byways of our city to find those ones who are lost. Amen