I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday! If you served a meal at your house, like I did, you have probably been eating leftovers. It seems that no matter what I do to try to plan Thanksgiving dinner, I always have too much food. Fortunately, there are those in my family who believe that Thanksgiving leftovers are the perfect food. The great thing about leftovers is that when you have them, you can be sure that everyone ate enough. No one went hungry that day. They are a sign of the abundance and generosity of the host. Rev. Singleton pointed out this morning that our God is a God of leftovers. He blesses us every day with his abundance and generosity.
Today's Bible passage was John 6:5-13. This is the miraculous account of Jesus feeding 5,000 men with a little boy's lunch. After the disciples had finished distributing food to all of those people (chances are there were women and children there in addition to the men) they collected 12 baskets of leftovers. Verse 12 tells us that they all had enough to eat. Amazing abundance and generosity! Rev. Singleton told us of four areas where God's generosity is so abundant that there are leftovers in our lives: Grace, Family, Power, and Vision.
You'll remember that grace is a gift that is given by God. It is something that you can never earn. But did you know that this abundant grace that you have is leftover grace? Ephesians 2:4-5 reads: "But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved." Our grace comes to us because of Jesus Christ. It is through our faith in our Savior that we can claim the grace of God. And the grace that is given to us when we profess our faith in Jesus is abundant enough for us to share with those around us!
Speaking of those around us, we next come to family. We tend to think of family in a very narrow way as the people physically related to us, or a group of people we were legally adopted into if we don't know our biological family. But family can mean different things. Jesus counted his disciples as his family (Matt. 12:48-50). Like Jesus, we have a spiritual family; those who are brothers and sisters in Christ. Chances are that you also have dear friends who are like family to you. However you define family, you have a responsibility to the family God has given to you. Remember, God has given you abundant grace to share with others!
Ephesians 3:20 tells us that God's power is at work in us. Did you know that? Through God's grace, we have God's power in our lives! We may not be superheroes who are able to perform amazing physical feats, but like superheroes, we have the power to defeat evil. When you accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you were given the Holy Spirit. Acts 1:8 promises us the power to be a witness of Jesus. Acts 5:32 says: "We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.” The Holy Spirit has been given to those who obey God! This power to know God, to know Jesus, even to know the will of God, has been given to you. It is there, waiting for you to use it! If you have more doubts than beliefs about God, you can know who He is for sure through the power of the Holy Spirit. And through this power, you can say with Paul "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:13).
We think of vision as one of our five senses. Without good physical vision, we can trip over things simply because we can't see them. Did you know that you can have spiritual vision? God is working in our lives in a way that we simply can't see with our physical eyes. Without good spiritual vision, we can trip over God's blessings and not even notice them. Through the Holy Spirit, we are given access to God's vision for our lives, but we have to allow him to show us. His blessings are all around, if we only care to look.
Your ability to see the abundance and generosity of God depends on your disposition and faith in God. Are you a "glass half empty" or "glass half full" kind of person? What you can see depends on your focus. Right now I can choose to focus on a single letter on my computer, the mess on my desk, or the sun setting over the hills outside my window. Focusing on a single letter doesn't do me much good, and focusing on the mess on my desk is just depressing. Focusing on the sunset, however, reminds me of God's goodness, beauty, and provision for me. It helps me to use my spiritual eyes to see the things that God has in store for me.
My prayer for you today is that you will experience the abundance of our God of leftovers! His grace, through Jesus Christ, is free for all who ask. And through his saving grace, you can have the abundant life that he has planned for you.