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Friday, July 17, 2020

Lancaster County view
Strasburg Pike farmview
Click to enlarge

"Let Nothing Be Wasted"

Message summary: Resourcefulness is one more way we can live in obedience to God. Let us be careful to look for opportunities to be more resourceful and prove to be good stewards of all that God has entrusted to us. Remember, God can use the leftover fragments!

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“When they had all had enough to eat, He said to His disciples, ‘Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.’ So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten” (John 6:12,13).

Blessings of Hope tourYesterday we attended a Convene meeting and toured a wholesale food distribution ministry here in Lancaster County called "Blessings Of Hope". It was begun by Aaron Fisher, who has an Amish background. He had a disabled father and recalls being needy as a child and people bringing his family bags of food to survive. When he grew up he knew in his heart he wanted to do something to help others in need. In 2006 he started Blessings of Hope.

The basic premise of Blessings Of Hope is collecting excess food from huge corporations and then distributing to food banks and other ministries who do the actual point of contact distribution. They have connections with over 80 food producers and distributors regionally around Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and in other states.
It has grown to the point they now receive 12 tractor trailer loads of food daily.

They presently serve food banks up and down the east coast and out to the Midwest. Thus far in 2020 they have distributed 24,947,506 pounds of food.

This food is excess to the producer for a variety of reasons. Aaron pointed out that 40% of the food produced in America is wasted somewhere along the process and much ends up in landfills and otherwise, and his ministry wants to do something about it. They are following the example of the Lord, who said in the daily text "Let nothing be wasted".

This type of resourcefulness is one of the virtues that we need to see increase in our day, a stark contrast to the disposable and wasteful habits our society has developed in recent decades. There are many homes where the leftover food on serving platters is scraped into the garbage without a second thought.

Loaves and fish Today's text comes from a Bible portion many of us remember from childhood; our Lord’s miracle of feeding the multitude. Jesus fed the multitude of five thousand men plus their wives and children with only five loaves of barley bread and two small fish generously donated by a young lad (presumably the proper amount of food a caring mother thought adequate for her son’s lunch).

After a prayer of thanks by Jesus and distribution of the meal the people "all had enough to eat”. The scene had changed quickly from the murmuring crowd asking, "What are we going to eat?" dilemma into a veritable "All you can eat" feast. No skimpy portions here! That’s just like our Lord. He truly satisfies! Psalm 107:9 says, "For He satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things."

Let us consider a perhaps overlooked or certainly lesser considered detail in our daily text. Jesus had miraculously fed 5,000 with a little boy’s lunch consisting of just five small barley loaves and two small fish. After the meal Jesus instructed His disciples to go through the crowd and collect the leftovers. That detail is amazing to me. Why be concerned for leftovers, when He could repeat the same miracle of multiplication the next day and every day?

Well, the Scripture doesn’t specifically tell us. Perhaps to indicate that more was actually left over after the full meal than they had in the beginning (even after feeding over 5,000  the pieces of the original five barley loaves filled twelve baskets). Interesting detail: There is no mention of leftover fish collected, perhaps because the fish would spoil rapidly whereas bread would be useful for several days.

That’s pretty neat, but I don’t think that’s the reason. We find that in Jesus’ instruction when He said, “Let nothing be wasted". I just have a feeling that some of the folks had a fine meal on some day-old bread the following day! It surely brought about meaningful conversation as they recalled the miraculous multiplication that provided the leftovers they were partaking of or perhaps the disciples were later instructed to take the leftover bread to the poor.

Blessings of Hope ministry provides a great example of resourcefulness so that nothing be wasted on a grand scale. I believe our resourcefulness is just one more way we can live in obedience to God. Can you think of at least one way that you could be more resourceful?

Resourcefulness is one more way we can live in obedience to God. Let us be careful to look for opportunities to be more resourceful and prove to be good stewards of all that God has entrusted to us. Remember, God can use the leftover fragments!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we marvel at the miracles Jesus performed, as recorded in the New Testament. Taking a young boy’s small lunch and feeding 5,000 men along with their wives and families is beyond our imagination. And then to have leftovers from such a setting is even more amazing. Just as the disciples and the crowd learned so much about Jesus through His feeding of the crowd we too learn that nothing is impossible with You. We also learn from this story that You are a resourceful God when Jesus instructed that the leftovers be collected rather than tossed away. Help us to be good stewards of all that You provide for us showing us how to be creative and generous toward others as well. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Further reflection on resourcefulness:  My Mom grew up during the Great Depression and like many in that generation was very resourceful and thrifty. It’s a characteristic that I didn’t always appreciate as a child but now see it as an outlook many in that generation had as a means of survival. My Mom insisted we eat all the food on our plates and then if there was any left on the serving platters we could expect to have them in another meal as "leftovers".

God has blessed me with a wife who is also very resourceful. She grew up in a large family in rural Oklahoma that worked hard just to get by including tending a full acre of garden. Through our forty-four years of marriage I have seen her resourcefulness demonstrated again and again. Once I was illustrating resourcefulness in a sermon and spoke of how she made delicious banana bread out of some ripe tomatoes that others would likely throw out. When I misspeak I am often clueless till I see the restrained chuckles throughout the congregation. Later people were asking Brooksyne for her banana bread recipe using ripe tomatoes! (Of course I meant to say “ripe bananas”.)

In my younger years I observed and worked alongside hard-working farmers who tend to be very resourceful. I recall how many uses a farmer could find for baling wire. My father-in-law was such a proponent of baling wire that he had it wrapped around trees on his property in Arkansas in preparation for a future use. The problem is the trees grew and he was unable to get the wire off!

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"I Remember the Fish"  Video  Greater Vision

"Just Ordinary People"  Video  Danniebelle Hall  A reminder that God uses the leftover fragments in our lives when we offer them to Him.

"Little Is Much"  Video  Larry Ford  What a great reminder for all of us!

Blessings Of Hope Aaron and other team members are part of a Convene group. We attended the Convene meeting as guests of Ron and Bonnie Hoover whom we have known for 13 years now. Ron chairs the local Convene group and has a marvelous mentoring ministry to business leaders seeking to serve God in the manner in which they operate their companies. Very recently he had a severe health crisis but he just keeps going and won't let the "old man in". Video (not a Christian song but has an interesting perspective) Essentially Clint Eastwood is asked how he keeps going in his late eighties and he answers, "I don't let the old man in".

Some scenes from our journey yesterday

Smucker Safety meeting
Whoever set up the chairs for the Smucker Safety meeting early yesterday morning has got the social distancing part a little confused (actually they have a sense of humor!)

Early yesterday I stopped into visit Moses who has quite a testimony of God's healing.

Aaron on Blessings of Hope tour
Aaron is illustrating how Blessing of Hope works by holding up a large ham and explaining how a major processor had loads of ham to donate due to so many Easter dinners for large family gatherings being canceled due to Covid as well as the closing of restaurants.
Click to enlarge

Blessings of Hope volunteers
Blessings of Hope has some 12,000 registered volunteers. Here several groups and families are packing boxes. This ministry gives an opportunity for the disabled to do meaningful work and also those recently released from prison. It's a wonderful sight!
Click to enlarge

Finally today:

Motorized scooters
We followed this couple for a ways on Ronks Road and couldn't get over how fast they were going. After finally passing them we saw their hidden secret, they had motorized scooters, the first time we've seen such in our area!

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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