As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.” Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered. “Bring them here to me”, he said and he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loves. Then he gave them to the disciples and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children. Matthew 14:15-21
My husband and I have been involved in a variety of youth programs in our relationship. One of our favorite stories is the year that the band boosters group was running short of funds and we decided to serve concessions leftovers from the State Band Competition to all the band students, families and leaders at the end of marching season banquet. We had 125 students, between 150-210 parents, some siblings and 8 band directors/leaders. Planning to feed 300+ people is always pretty exciting, planning to feed them all with leftovers was pretty risky. We had a couple boxes of uncooked hamburgers and hot dogs, a variety of leftover individual bags of chips and plenty of bottled water. We e-mailed all the band parents and asked them to bring cookies - homemade, store bought, whatever they had on hand.
The night of the banquet three of the band dads grilled and delivered all the meat and leftover buns and we served people for over an hour. A few of us were getting nervous, there was a huge line of people and we had told the directors and booster leadership that they would have to eat last because we weren’t sure we would have enough. We had grandparents that we hadn’t estimated in our count and every table in the school cafeteria was full. When we opened the last pan of meat we started to joke about the loaves and the fishes and the possibility that we would need to have someone run to get emergency carryout pizzas. But we made it through…the band director was the last through the line and we were even able to give him some extra cookies. While we were afraid that there wouldn’t be enough we used up all the leftovers (money that would not be made back otherwise) and we heard from so many parents and kids about how much fun it was to eat “band competition food”.
Since that time when I get worried about not having enough of something (desserts for a party, Christmas gifts, etc) I think back on how we were all full of joy with leftovers and the benefits of having just enough.
Prayer: Bountiful God, thank you for providing for my family. It is comforting to have enough. Please be with those who are struggling to make ends meet, help us all to share our excess so that everyone can have enough. Amen