Luke 9:16 – Taking the five loaves and two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke them. Then he gave them to his disciples to set before the people. (NIV)
In this record of Jesus feeding the crowd, several things come to mind.
First of all, if one little boy had the five loaves and two fish, his basket must have been boy-sized. Needing to have enough for fifty in each group, Jesus must have created more baskets of a fair size. Maybe there was enough for one person in each basket, and it was constantly replenished as each person took theirs, but wait … the baskets are mentioned again.
Secondly, He didn't say, "Sit down and relax, fellows, we'll get the women to do the serving."
Why pick up the leftovers? They would make good compost or feed the birds. He cares about birds, too. But He wanted the place left as it was found, uncluttered. And the clean-up wasn't women's work either.
John 6:12b-13a – "Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted." So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets. (NIV)
Furthermore, He didn't want waste. I imagine the twelve baskets of leftovers went to the outskirts of town or to the caves where the lepers and outcasts lived.
In feeding all those people, He also gave us several examples of Christ-like behaviour: recycle; leave as small a footprint as possible; learn to serve each other; and see that the needs of the poor are met.
Prayer: Dear Lord, we need to remember how You cared for others and set an example of caring for our surroundings, too. The environment is the big thing now, but with You, caring for the earth was just part of life. Help us to see the needs around us, especially in these hard times. We thank You for Your provision each day. Amen.