John 6:12, 13
When they were filled, he said to his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.…
I. THE PROOF OF THE ABUNDANCE. There are distributions where the quantity is so limited that each has far short of what he could manage. The point of the miracle lies in this, that each had not merely something, but enough. And the proof that each had enough lies in this, that fragments were all strewn about.
II. THE EVIDENCE THAT THIS MODE OF SUPPLY MUST BE ONLY VERY OCCASIONAL. What comes easily is lightly valued. Though the people had got a meal in this marvellous way, they were not very thoughtful about the marvel. They ate on till they had enough, and then flung the residue away. Not every one would be so thoughtless, but a great many must have been, else whence the twelve baskets full? Habitual beggars are wasteful and reckless livers. There is great wisdom in the ordinance whereby man has to work so hard for his bread. He learns that he has to make the very best of things he can. It is a pitiful confession to make; but most men are compelled into forethought through sheer necessity.
III. THE RESPECT WHICH OUGHT TO BE PAID TO BREAD. Lane, in his "Modern Egyptians," says of them that they show a great respect for bread as the staff of life, and on no account suffer the smallest portion of it to be wasted if they can avoid it. "I have often observed an Egyptian take up a small piece of bread which had by accident fallen into the street or road, and after putting it before his lips and forehead three times, place it on one side, in order that a dog might eat it rather than let it remain to be trodden underfoot." Consider the marvellous transmutation by which bread becomes flesh and blood. Make the very best of it, then. Remember how Jesus has taken it as the symbol of that spiritual sustaining force which is to be found in him. One would have expected these people each one to take his own remaining fragment as an interesting memento of the wonderful deed. Even if it had become hard as a stone it would still have been there to recall the mercy and power of Jesus on an occasion of great need.
IV. WE ARE REMINDED THAT THERE IS NO ULTIMATE WASTE IN THE UNIVERSE. Jesus will have us waste nothing. We may be sure, then, that he wastes nothing himself. A great deal of rain falls where it cannot freshen anything, but sooner or later it finds its work and does its mission. We must not measure utility by our power to see it. What are called waste products in many manufactures turn out even more valuable than the direct products. Things reckoned useless are experimented on, and so in due time their value is discovered. - Y.
Parallel VersesKJV: When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.