Divine Avoidance of Waste
Homiletic Magazine
John 6:12-13
When they were filled, he said to his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.…

Many things that appear useless have some hidden value. In jeweller's shops every particle of filing is preserved for the assayer. Paper trimmings of large establishments become of value to the extent of thousands of pounds. In Copenhagen a hospital is supported by the money raised from cigar tips. The pieces of bread swept into the dust heap from the tables of England would, if saved and given to missions, double the means at present at their disposal.


1. In nature there seems to be waste in great stretches of uncultivated ground, rocky ridges, unseen flowers, unfathomed depths; and in stellar regions there seems to be infinite waste of light and force. Why all this? Because there must be no appearance of niggardliness on the part of omnipotence. Yet no part of this lavishment is really waste. No atom is lost. All is used over and over again, as vapours, heat, sand, soil, etc.

2. In the world of thought there is no waste. From Copernicus, Tycho, Brake, Kepler, Newton, etc., men now gather power to gain further knowledge. Watts, and Stephenson, and Moore are only founders of inventions on which others build.

3. In the spiritual sphere, devotion, faithfulness, endurance, suffering, is not waste. John in prison, Stephen stoned, Christ crucified, are all incentives to fealty and love.


1. It is a benefit to man that he is required to "gather." Christ could have created more bread, but it had not been good for the disciples to live on miracles. Eden could have been kept right, but it was better for man to keep it. Birds and animals are provided with clothing and food; man has to provide for himself because a higher being. Difficulties enable us to value things more.

2. Christ here warned men of the great losses that may attend trifling neglects: Ships sink by little leaks. Constant trifling wastes may ruin the best business.

3. He showed more power in the gathered fragments than in feeding the five thousand.

4. He taught the disciples His care for those whom others would despise.

(Homiletic Magazine.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.

WEB: When they were filled, he said to his disciples, "Gather up the broken pieces which are left over, that nothing be lost."

Fragments Or, Broken Pieces
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