Gathering Up the Fragments
Jesus told his disciples, “Gather up the fragments so that none may be lost.”
There’s a story in the Bible about Jesus feeding a multitude from the offering of a few loaves and some fish. In one version, his disciples are in possession of the meager provisions; in another, a young boy steps up and offers the disciples his gift. Their question is the same: how can we meet such an overwhelming need with what little we have? Jesus’ response: bring your offering to me. He takes the loaves and fish, offers thanks, and returns them to the disciples to distribute. All are fed, with food left to spare.
I live most of my life inside the story of the loaves and fish. I know that what I have to give is insufficient to accomplish what is needed, but Jesus’ word to me, time and again, is “Offer what you have and leave the rest to me.” When I do, miracles sometime happen, not because of me, but because of Him, and the grace and power of God working in and through us all.
At the end of one version of this story, after all have been fed, Jesus goes on to say, “Gather up the fragments, so that none may be lost.” This may be the greatest miracle of all. Sometimes it feels as if we live our lives casting about from one thing to the next without a sense of integration or forward movement. My life often feels that way—fragmented, scattered in pieces that seem to require my attention and energy but don’t hold together. But Jesus didn’t say “Put the fragments back together.” He said, “Gather the fragments, so that none may be lost.”
That’s what I attempt to do in my writing: gather up fragments so that none may be lost, and offer them to Jesus in faith that miracles happen when we share what we have and receive bits of grace from one another’s hands.