Image courtesy of Tina Phillips/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In John 6: 12 (NIV), Jesus is quoted as having said, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” When I first read this verse this morning, I immediately thought of it out of context. Rather than thinking of Christ miraculously feeding a huge crowd with what started out as a few loaves of bread and a few fish my thoughts “warped speed” to our current culture, and I thought of this verse perhaps being God’s way of telling us the importance of recycling. With further thought, I came to see an even deeper meaning in it. Perhaps this is because a friend of mine posted a quote on Facebook yesterday about how when one breaks a plate, saying “I’m sorry” to the plate is meaningless. Some things once done cannot be undone.

But what if Christ’s advice to gather the pieces so they wouldn’t be wasted applies to us, ourselves? By the time most people get to recovery, their addiction has often broken their lives, their self esteem, and their belief that life has a meaning into “a million shattered pieces.” Looking at yesterday’s Facebook posting and Christ’s comment after feeding the multitude of people who had gathered to hear him speak, I believe Christ’s direction to his apostles has profound meaning—-not only for those of us in recovery, but also for anyone who has ever experienced a major crisis, a “broken heart,” or major life-change.

To enter recovery from addiction or other life crisis, we must first admit we are broken—-that what we had, what we were used to, what we desired, etc. is broken. It no longer works. It is harming us. It may be harming others. We need to move from “my plate is broken” to what can we do now that its shattered? In recovery circles, this corresponds to the first step in which people admit their powerlessness over their addiction and the fact their life has become unmanageable. Next, we need to come to believe that with the help of a higher power we can build a new plate that is not only functional but will also be beneficial to others.  After that comes a lifetime of working with God as “co-creators” of a spiritual “work of art”—-creating a “new plate”—-a new life re-made into something different and much better than what we’d broken. Once being in a spiritual connection and relationship with God becomes a daily, moment-to-moment priority we are empowered to live life fully one day at a time and to share God’s grace and love with others, not only in our words, but also in with our actions.

So, what do I need to remember from this “thought application” of not letting pieces go to waste?

  • Sometimes  I have to recognize and give up on what is not working and purposively break it so with God’s help I can start rebuilding it into something better
  • I have to discard what is broken and be willing to let God help me create something new and better
  • I need to keep in close touch with God as we work in partnership to maintain this new “butterfly creation
  • I need to be “spirit-driven” rather than self-driven so that my actions are a direct result of God’s will instead of my own

Please comment and share your experiences with the miracle of surrender and creation—-a gift that allows us “Let nothing be wasted.” May God bless and keep you.