Summary: God can and will use what man considers useless!
What a wonderful story from the life of Christ is given to us in the beginning of John 6. It is a story that many of us have heard many times. A great multitude was following Christ and Jesus knew they were hungry. The disciples being tested by Christ declared that it was impossible to feed this crowd with the resources they had.
Then one little boy who had a lunch of five loaves of bread and two small fishes offered it to Christ. Christ took that little boys lunch and multiplied it until the whole crowd was fed. A great miracle occured.
And most of us are familar with that much of the story. But after the crowd is filled, Christ does something interesting in verse 12. He commands the disciples to gather the fragments that remain that nothing be lost.
Jesus was concerned about the leftovers!! Now some have used this verse to teach us to be good stewards of what God gives us and not waste it. That is certainly true. But the Holy Spirit led me in a different way as I studied this verse.
I thought about Christ gathering all those fragments, those leftovers, those things that no one in the crowd wanted any more, and He gathered them for a purpose. What was His purpose in gathering these leftovers? He was going to use them.
I want you to know this morning we serve a God who is concerned about the fragments. As a pastor I talk to Christians who were saved later in life, and they say Pastor, I wish I had been saved earlier, when I had more years to live for Christ. I have so few years left now. But thank God you are saved now and you serve a God who will gather the fragments that remain that nothing be lost.
Or perhaps after you were saved, you got off in sin and away from God and you made some wrong decisions. You have come back to your Father and you found I John 1:9 to be true. You have found the forgiveness offered in the Word of God. But you find that you are still discouraged and defeated. You say Pastor I’ve failed God so many times and He has always been faithful to forgive me, but I feel like He can’t use me.
I’ve made such a mess of my life that I can’t be fruitful for God. It seems like my life hasn’t gone the way I wanted it too and so many of my dreams have not been realized. And you are forgiven but still not being used of God because you are living in a place of despair, defeat, and forever being beat down by your past. And that is exactly where the devil wants you to stay.
Whatever has happened in your life God wants to gather up the fragments that remain that nothing be lost. Let show you some examples of this truth from Scripture.
I. SAMSON - Judges 16:28-31
Samson was a man who knew the power of God. God used Samson to do all sorts of mighty miracles recorded for us in the book of Judges. But Samson became involved in rebellion, and lust, and sexual immorality. Oh Samson paid a high price for his sin. He lost God’s power, was taken captive by the Philstines, and had his eyes gouged out. They chained Samson in a grinding house to grind like a common animal.
But I believe as Samson worked in that grinding mill, at some point he sought and found God’s forgiveness for his sins. The Bible tells us Samson’s hair began to grow again. The Philistines took Samson to the temple of the false God so they could mock his helplessness. As a great host of Philistines partied and laughed Samson found his way to the main pillars of the temple. He cried out for God’s power to fall on him one more time. God granted his request and Samson pushed down those pillars killing more in his death than in his life. Why did God power fall once again on a man who had lost it through his own sinfulness? God was gathering the fragments that remained that nothing be lost!
II. DAVID - II Samuel 12:13
David was man after God’s own heart. We all know of the great deeds he performed by faith. But David committed immorality with Bathsheba and then being fearful of being discovered he had her husband Urriah murdered. And David paid a great price for his sin. But he found forgiveness and went on to still be used of God. Why? God was gathering the fragments that remained that nothing be lost!
III. PETER - Matthew 26:69-75
Here we find Jesus’ disciple Peter. The one who had promised he would follow the Lord even until death. But he denies three times, once with a curse, the Lord Jesus Christ. Then realizing his sin he goes out and weeps bitterly. And some would say that he was washed up, his best days of serving Christ were behind him. Surely God would not use him now. But Peter found forgiveness and went on to become the great preacher of Pentecost. Why? God was gathering the fragments that remained that nothing be lost!