When they had all had enough to eat, Jesus said to his disciples, "Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted." - John 6:12
A tiny fragment of barley bread lay on the ground, forgotten by the man who had dropped it there. The man was sitting on the hill, his stomach full, his needs totally met, and the fragment of the last loaf he’d eaten lay where it fell. There were many such fragments that day on the usually deserted hills on the far shore of the Sea of Galilee.
The man was one of five thousand who had come to hear Jesus speak, scarcely concerned about his stomach for the joy of hearing the Master teach. Imagine his stunned surprise when he realized that he would be fed as well, eating barley loaves and fish until he could eat no more. Where in the world could such abundance have come from? Eight month’s wages would hardly have covered the cost, and yet his stomach was full! So, the last fragment of barley loaf slipped from his hand unnoticed and lay there.
Not long after that, however, another hand reached out and picked up the fragment of bread, putting it in a basket along with many others. Jesus had commanded the disciples to collect all the leftover fragments, giving a clear principle with the command: “So that nothing will be wasted.” The fragments were gathered into baskets and together they testified to the magnitude of what Jesus had done. Twelve basketfuls stood on the hillside and proclaimed the mighty power of the Son of God. Each fragment taken alone would have been hardly noticeable, but gathered together, they bore a mighty witness.
So it is with our lives. Our God is absolutely masterful in the way He orchestrates events and experiences in the lives of His children so that nothing is wasted. Even the smallest events have their mysterious place in the great plan of God for us individually and for the Church corporately. God is a purposeful being, and nothing He does is wasted. A small illness may enter your life, linger for a few days and leave. You may wonder, “What was that for?” God may not tell you, but He says, “Let nothing be wasted.” You have a random conversation with a stranger in an airport, and just as you are about to mention Christ as a witness to him, he glances at his watch, reacts with alarm and says “I’ve got to go! My plane is boarding now!” Again, you may wonder, “Why did that happen? I was just about to share the gospel and our time was cut off!” Yet God says, “Let nothing be wasted.” All of the small and great occurrences of our lives make their respective imprint on our character and serve their proper place in the great system of God’s perfect plan. From the smallest fragment of a barley loaf lying on a hill in Galilee, to the magnitude of a resurrected Christ speaking “Peace be with you!” all things work together in their proper proportion to witness and to shape history at God’s command.
"Even the smallest events have their mysterious place in the great plan of God for us individually and for the Church corporately. God is a purposeful being, and nothing He does is wasted."
So it is that there are no insignificant events in our lives. Nothing is wasted. Every prayer we pray, and even the time we disobey…all things are crafted by the hand of our sovereign Lord, “that nothing is wasted.” For it is God who “causes all things to work together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28). This causes us to rejoice in every moment and in every interaction with people. Every moment can be used by God for something truly significant. For if a forgotten fragment of barley bread had a place in God’s eternal plan, how much more your actions at the workplace, your conversation with your spouse, your commute time to work, your weekly errands. “Let nothing be wasted!”