Recently, I set out to make a small pot of chili. Yet as it cooked, I decided it needed more beans. Then it needed more tomatoes. Now the meat was skimpy. I started out with a small batch and ended up with enough chili to feed the neighborhood! For the next week, I invited friends over for lunch or dinner – trying to finish all the leftovers.

More often than not, we don’t plan leftovers; they just happen.

So I found it curious when I read the story in John’s Gospel chapter 6 where Jesus feeds over 5,000 people. Why the leftovers? Surely Jesus knew exactly how many people were there and how much they would eat. And still, it took twelve large baskets to collect all the leftovers.

Some suggest that it was in order to demonstrate that Jesus is willing to provide for our needs – and more. Simply put, He is a generous God. Others suggest the twelve baskets relate to the twelve disciples or the twelve tribes of Israel. But as I read the story, something else occurred to me. Perhaps the reason there were leftovers was because Jesus was prepared to feed every person in the region – whether they cared to come and sit with Him or not.

Jesus Himself said this, “The kingdom of Heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come.” Matthew 22:1-3 (NIV)

How tragic! But there is hope. The Bible also teaches,

“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1:12)

How about you? Miss the boat? Late for dinner? There is still hope! There is always room at the Cross. 

Shadia is a passionate Bible teacher, author and speaker who has a heart for seeing lives transformed by the power of God’s Word. She holds a master’s in biblical and theological studies from Western Seminary and is author of several books and Bible studies.

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