Try to imagine that scene. The disciples must have been embarrassed when Jesus stood up with the measly loaves and fish and started acting as if they would satisfy the needs of 5,000. He must have known there wasn’t enough. Why did he give thanks to God as if he actually had anything to offer to the hungry crowd?
Then he broke the bread. And he gave it away. And he broke it. And he gave it away. And he kept breaking, and he kept giving, until all ate and were satisfied.
…and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.
Somewhere in the thanksgiving and the breaking of the bread, a miracle took place.
In the spiritual world, healing and wholeness are always revealed through brokenness. Rock bottom is where so many of us first see the light. Jesus’ body broken on the cross bought our salvation.
When we truthfully survey our lives, there is always brokenness. But too often, the brokenness is all we see. If we were to slow down a little more, and take the time to gather the pieces, we would find tiny miracles multiplying into more than enough.
In her book, A Tree Full of Angels, Macrina Wiederkehr wrote, “We stand in the midst of nourishment and we starve. We dwell in the land of plenty, yet we persist in going hungry. Not only do we dwell in the land of plenty; we have the capacity to be filled with the utter fullness of God…. We are too busy to be present, to blind to see the nourishment and salvation in the crumbs of life…”
All of life is overflowing with gifts of grace, gifts of beauty and gifts of love. God is reaching out to us through everything in creation- the good and the bad are laced with purpose. We simply need to open our eyes to see it.
Philippians 4:8 says, “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”
Fix your thoughts. Gather the goodness in your mind. Collect it in your heart. Store it up in your soul.
But it isn’t enough to simply see the gifts we’ve been given. We have to receive them as well. How can these crumbs nourish us unless we consume them?
Gift giving is completed by thanksgiving. Jesus’ miracle took place after he gave thanks. Though it may seem insignificant, gratefulness may be the most soul-expanding, miracle-producing principle in scripture.
When thanksgiving becomes a habit, when we train ourselves (and our children) to gather and receive the gifts we are given, we realize the truth that we are never lacking. We truly have been given more than enough.
If you’re having trouble believing thanksgiving could be the solution to your discontentment, or if you need a little inspiration to kick-start you and your family in the art of thanksgiving, grab a copy of Ann Voskamp’s book 1,000 Gifts or visit her blog, aholyexperience.com
Jim Branch, the founder of Young Life youth ministry sums it up beautifully: “For no matter how broken the heart, or the life, or the circumstance; we have this amazing God who says, 'With me nothing is wasted. Gather the pieces, I am in the midst of them.'"