They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish. The number of the men who had eaten was five thousand.
This just doesn’t happen today – people being satisfied. When was the last time you saw someone express their satisfaction with something or someone?
I went to my orthopedist for cortisone injections in both knees. It’s a nice office and the staff are pleasant and professional. But not today.
There was a patient who was going “toe-to-toe” with one of the staff. I wasn’t there for the start, but when I came in, it was a raging fire of discontent. They weren’t quite yelling at one another, but it was very close. The patient had their foot on the accelerator, pushing the staff to do something. Get something. Get the manager. And the staff wasn’t giving an inch. They were pushing right back as good as they received.
Not a comfortable situation to say the least. It made the discomfort from the large needles going into my knee joints seem small and unimportant. While the pain from the injections was for but a moment, the pain from the disconnect and arguing certainly was going to linger.
Jesus does more than pull a rabbit out of a hat, he pulls enough food and fish out to feed 5,000 men, not including women and children. But it doesn’t stop there. The disciples picked up 12 baskets of leftovers. Notice it says specifically that the disciples picked up the leftovers. Not the people.
People are people, no matter where you go. Where you are from. On your next flight, intentionally wait to be the last one off the plane. You’ll observe more trash than you can shake a stick at. Cups, paper napkins, soda cans, water bottles, candy and snack wrappers.
After the people got up, they left behind 12 baskets of leftovers. When it was all over, Jesus directs the disciples to pick up the leftover pieces. He didn’t want anything to go to waste.
This wasn’t like the father of one of the kids on my little league team who took the entire team to McDonalds for hamburgers, French fries, and drinks. I had a chocolate milkshake because I liked to dip my fries into it and then lick off the ice cream. Yes, I was and still am weird. He was generous, taking about 14 kids to Micky D’s when hamburgers were 15¢. I don’t know what the entire bill came to. But the one thing I do know is that there wasn’t a scrap of anything leftover.
This was the God and creator of the universe feeding 5,000 men plus the women and children who were in the crowd. And they didn’t just get by, there were 12 baskets of leftovers.
This wasn’t just a miracle, this was a big, rippin’ miracle. This was huge. It certainly would have been the leadoff story on the evening news. It would be page-1 news (above the fold) and on every social media landing page. The people in the crowd had a personal, practical encounter with Jesus, and he filled their stomachs.
And that was great. But Jesus wanted to do something more than just fill their bellies. He wanted to fill their empty souls, to fill and heal their broken hearts.
Yes, Jesus is interested in meeting your needs: food, clothing, housing, employment, health. But there is something oh so much more important to Jesus – he wants to be with you each and every day.
I’ll never forget one particular Saturday morning. Mary Ann got a call from someone in her Bible study. She said, “Our friend Weezie has breast cancer.” Immediately there were tears followed by prayers for her and the family. These weren’t just over-the-shoulder prayers, but deep, heartfelt, begging prayers for healing.
As you can imagine, friends and family struggled with the news. Weezie and the family searched for the best doctors, hospitals, and treatments as they looked for a cure. But none was found. None was coming.
Our friend Weezie struggled with this. Where was God? Why didn’t he speak? Why didn’t he answer? Why didn’t he heal? Didn’t God know that they had two young boys who needed their mother? Who was going to take care of them? Won’t they grow up angry and bitter at God for taking their mother away?
But towards the end, she surrendered to God, releasing her anger. She died from cancer, but God was not finished. From the grave she still “preaches” through the memorial service that was packed out, with hundreds hearing about the God who loved her, and her love for her God. She still “preaches” through the husband that loved her and his remarriage. She still “preaches” today as you read these words.
Not all things are good, but with God they can work for the good. Yes, the tragedies are hard and painful. The separations that tear people apart are so much more hurtful than if they were cut with a knife.
But God has not moved, He has not changed. He still loves us. And we can be satisfied with life.
But will we be satisfied?
 Hebrews 11:4