Nothing Wasted

“Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” – Jesus, as quoted in John 6:12 (NIV)

We planted in hope and reaped in dismay.

As usual, we put in the garden around Memorial Day. Then the monsoons arrived. Now, those who live in these parts know the rain that deluged us for weeks and weeks was uncommon. Seeds and spuds rotted in the ground.

Then in mid-July and August the sun shone—and shone and shone. No rain. Not good for the garden.

We did get a healthy bean and pea harvest, and hubby enjoyed green onions and fresh cucumbers in his salad.

But the beets and green peppers were pitifully small. Even the zucchini and squash, of which I usually get way more than I can use, were sparse and a fraction of their usual size. Onions we let grow rotted in the ground and those we pulled rotted while drying out, even though I’d bought the “Keepers.” The skins on the two zucchini we picked were tough, as was the corn. Even the raccoons left the stalks alone.

photoWhen I picked the tomatoes, I tossed quite a number of them because they were rotting or spotted. Not even I, who will save every usable bit of tomato as possible, could use those.

As I prepared the tomatoes for canning, I thought about when Jesus fed the multitude. When they were finished—John writes, “when they all had enough to eat”—Jesus told the disciples to “gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted” (John 6:12).

Let nothing be wasted.

I thought about that phrase as I cut out the bad parts of those tomatoes.

I, too, have “bad parts”—character flaws, habits, mistakes that hurt me and others. But Jesus doesn’t toss me away because of them. Instead He lovingly cuts them out so mine will not be a life that’s wasted.

I thought about that phrase as I prepared those tiny beets for canning. I wouldn’t get the yield I wanted, but even those little beets would be used.

I thought about that phrase as I contemplated the things out of my control that affected the garden harvest—the weather, the country critters. So, too, things happen in our lives that are beyond our control and leave us spotted.

But that doesn’t mean God can’t use us.

Think you’ve got too many bad parts? Or you’re too small or too tough to be of any value? Or the stuff of life has marked you up too much to be usable?

Turn yourself over to the One who said, “Let nothing be wasted.”

For, unlike us, He plants in hope and reaps in joy.

When I’m feeling small and marked and unusable, Lord, remind me that “He who began a good work in me will carry it on to completion” (Philippians 1:6) until I am all He plans for me. That nothing in His hands is ever wasted. Amen.

 Extra tea: Read and meditate on John 6:1–13

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