Lord of the Scraps

LeRoy Koopman

READ : John 6:10-14

One detail of this well-known story is especially intriguing. After that great picnic on the hillside, Jesus said, “Gather up the fragments left over, so that nothing may be lost” (v. 12). Why was Jesus concerned about the scraps?

For one thing, the leftovers show the immense miracle Jesus did. He not only provided enough, but much more than enough. But another reason for the scraps is even more obvious: Jesus wanted to feed hungry people back in the villages.

Having plenty is never an excuse for waste. We who have enough and more than enough often don’t realize that our surpluses can feed starving people.

Fortunately, Jesus’ disciples today make the rounds of supermarkets, gathering fruits and vegetables that are a bit wilted. They pick up milk close to the expiration date. They bring them to food pantries and soup kitchens. They go to bread companies, collecting day-old bread, to canneries whose vegetables didn’t quite meet quality standards, to fruit and vegetable growers whose surpluses would otherwise rot, to cereal manufacturers who added a little too much sugar.

At least some got their idea from Jesus. He is not only host of the banquet but Lord of the scraps.


Help us, Lord, to be more conscious of the poor who could benefit from the things we waste.