Recently I attended a Bible study on John 6. I’ve heard that story since Mr. Perrone’s second grade Sunday school class; we sang about it while arranging felt figures on that simply magical board!

I’m sure you’ve heard it before. Jesus fed more than 5000 people with a kid’s lunch that consisted of a couple fish and some of his mama’s homemade bread. Oh how he must have dreamed about sitting in the shade and munching on his yummy feast that day! Little did he know what he would give up. I still remember being amazed that Jesus did all that multiplying without twitching his nose or folding his arms and blinking!

But after they were done eating, Jesus told His disciples, “Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost. Therefore they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten.”

Even though I heard this Bible study before the holidays, the state of my refrigerator post-Thanksgiving and Christmas was a gentle reminder that I had some revisiting to do.

What is the purpose for all these left overs I keep?

I remember the feeling that day after Thanksgiving when I opened my fridge in search of the half-and-half. I cooked too much and the containers stacked on top of each other confirmed it. Reinventing the Jell-O salad on wilted iceberg lettuce was not a good idea. (I didn’t go to that extreme but maybe you did.)

All my well-laid intentions of the perfect meal fell by the wayside. I know because I cleared the table and scraped my hard work into the garbage again. What my family didn’t know is that they would eventually eat this food, whether at lunch today, or dinner tomorrow. Sound familiar? Often in our vain attempt to prove who-knows-what, we hold on to what was meant for the trash in the first place. I don’t even like leftovers!

It reminds me of something funky that happened after turning 40. And to be honest, my life sometimes feels like one big bowl of leftover cornbread stuffing. Not the star of the show like the perfectly caramelized skin of that overly anticipated bird, but just an overlooked side dish.

It sort of feels like someone stole my place at the table. Ever feel that way? Like she’s driving your car, he bought your house, and now they’re living your dream? You did everything right but now you’ve been relegated to the back of the refrigerator where no one notices and God doesn’t care.

Take heart! I am convinced that He had something in mind that day for when we feel dirty, trampled on, and unwanted. Left over. Left behind. Left out.

First you have to clean up the mess you’ve been keeping. You know what I’m talking about…the big bowl of anger that’s been stewing on the back burner from a bruised relationship. The plate of unforgiveness because you were abandoned and your dreams crushed. You serve sadness in your best china and offer regret in a crystal goblet to everyone you meet because you refuse to let it go.

The story of the boy that day is quite simple for us all. He carried something, a lunch, that was rightfully his, just like the feelings and emotions you think are rightfully yours. I wonder how he felt after Jesus took his lunch. Did he ask for it back or did he fold his arms in disgust and storm away? I know what grief I would incur if I set a happy meal in front of my starving child then took it away before he took a bite. Not pretty!

But Jesus had a plan. After He took his lunch, He blessed it, broke it and then used it in a way that affected the multitude of people for perhaps the rest of their lives. He even knew there would be leftovers to be taken care of.

Isn’t that what He does along our journey? He takes, He breaks, and then He shapes. Unfortunately, it’s often the messiest stuff that we hold to the longest.

There is stuff in all of our lives that stinks. Yet God loves us so much that He’s willing to gather all those unimportant left overs and gently put them into woven baskets that He takes care of. You don’t have to rest on yesterday’s grace because He offers new mercies every morning!

Sure the New Year has already started, but there’s time to figure out if you’re still holding on to something you should have left behind. If you did, it’s time to let Him gather it up once and for all. I have a feeling there’s a place awaiting you and it’s right in the middle of a beautiful story starring the one and only you, no leftovers involved!



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  1. Connie Pless on the January 13, 2012 remarked #

    This is awesome, what you have written. It blessed me. I’ve never thought of things that way, but you are correct. Jesus died for ME. Sometimes I wonder why He did that, but I know He was sent to save us. I’m thankful He is my Savior and friend. Thanks for sharing.

    • Kimberlee Stone on the January 13, 2012 remarked #

      Yes, Connie, you are so right. And He loves us so much that He’s willing to carry all our junk so we don’t have to! And then He redeems our life from the deepest pits in the most beautiful of ways. I pray many blessings on you!

  2. Mommakisses on the January 14, 2012 remarked #

    The grace with which you coax your readers to think about things they otherwise don’t want to think on is amazing. Thank you for sharing your talent!

    • Kimberlee Stone on the January 14, 2012 remarked #

      Wow, Beth. That’s the most beautiful thing I’ve heard! It’s not fun thinking about the messy parts of our lives but that’s when grace becomes so real. And that’s something I long to share…

  3. reflectionsbypj on the January 20, 2012 remarked #

    Oh my – words, I love this!

    “… He takes, He breaks, and then He shapes… ”

    “You don’t have to rest on yesterday’s grace because He offers new mercies every morning!”

    I love the comparrison and will never look at my fridge the same way again. Thank you for reminding me, for challenging me, to get rid of some leftovers that have been gathering in my “fridge”.

    • Kimberlee Stone on the January 20, 2012 remarked #

      Penny, I’ll take that as one encourager to another because I am just encouraged by your posts! I say we have a cleaning out party…I’ll be there with all my trash and we’ll get rid of it once and for all!

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