Gather Up the Fragments..... That Nothing Be Lost

 When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.    Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten.  (John 6:12-13 AV)

As I again contemplated the state of the church in our time, recently, the Lord spoke a phrase to me from the above passage; that nothing be lost. As I looked up the phrase my heart was melted because of the context of the phrase.

This story is found in all four gospels, but only in John, the book in which Jesus is depicted as the Divine Son, showing the heart of the Father, is this phrase used. The context is that of the feeding of the 5000+ and the gathering of fragments. In order to fully grasp the importance of what I feel to say, we need to look at the whole story.

 After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias.    And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased.    And Jesus went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples.    And the passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh.    When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?    And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do.    Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little.    One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, saith unto him,    There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?    And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand.    And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would.    When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.    Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten.    Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world.  (John 6:1-14 AV;Matt. 14:13-21;Mark 6:30-44; Luke 9:10-17)

Jesus had been teaching the multitude. He had been healing their sick. Here the service had lasted all day and no one had eaten. In the instance of the four thousand the service had lasted three days. (Matt. 15:32-39;Mark 8:1-10)    

In both instances Jesus’ compassion caused Him to supply food in a miraculous manner. There is a process that seems to be involved here that I want to look at.

1.     God is not concerned about how much you have or your talents. He wanted to know what was available to Him In this case it was what many would consider insignificant. Jesus took what was available.

2.     Present what little you have to Jesus.

3.    Bring order into the situation. He told them how many to seat in a group.
4.    Jesus treatment of the little is very important.
    a.    Bless the little
    b.    Break it into smaller chunks or seemingly make smaller something that is already not enough
    c.    Give away the broken bread and fish. He did not give whole loaves or lives away. He fed the multitude with brokenness.
    d.    Gather up the fragments.

It is the final phrase that caught my attention in light of nothing being lost.  I want to take time and develop the thought of God’s relationship to broken things.

1.    The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.  (Psalms 34:18 AV)

    a.    When a heart is broken, the Lord comes nigh. God values a broken heart to such and extent that He comes near to watch over them as the work gets done within them.
        i.    One of the things that breaks the heart is found in the following scripture.
            (1)    Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none.  (Psalms 69:20 AV)

2.     Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.  (Psalms 51:8 AV)

    a.    When a lamb goes consistently astray, the shepherd will break its legs in order to get it to stay to close to the shepherd. He accomplishes this bonding by carrying the lamb, until the legs heal. It is hearing the joy and gladness in His voice at her progress (when she really hears those things. He may try to communicate it often, but the lamb, may only hear it when finally, the shepherd carries it with the lamb’s ear close to His mouth.)that heals the bones.

3.    The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.  (Psalms 51:17 AV)

    a.    Here God speaks of a spirit that has been broken.
        i.    The spirit is broken by sorrow of heart.     
            (1)    A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.  (Proverbs 15:13 AV)

4.    Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up.    After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.    Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.  (Hosea 6:1-3 AV)

    a.    Here God speaks of a work that He does in bringing us to a knowing of many of the aspects of His nature and ability. It includes a reference to a type of fragmentation by tearings.

5.    God is so concerned about broken hearts, spirits, bones and relationships that He gave to one of the five ministry gifts a special anointing to heal brokeness or to deal with fragmented people.

    a.    I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but I will destroy the
fat and the strong; I will feed them with judgment. 
(Ezekiel 34:16 AV)

i.     He says in this passage in verses 1-5 that this is the ministry of the pastor or shepherd. Of the listed responsibilities, we find that five of the six are to individuals. Each of those five have to do with physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual fragmentation.
            (1)    Strengthen the diseased
            (2)    Seek the lost
            (3)    Bring again that which was driven awy
            (4)    bind up that which is broken
            (5)    strengthen that which was sick

6.    And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.  (1 Corinthians 11:24 AV)

    a.    Jesus does not give us His whole body to eat. He only gives us a fragment at a time.

7.    The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?    For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.  (1 Corinthians 10:16-17 AV)

    a.    Just as our Head, Jesus was bread to be broken, so we, are called, as we share with the Lord in life, to be broken. He was to be eaten of. We are to be broken so that others can partake of Him in us.

I want to come back now to the command of Jesus after the feeding of the 5000 and 4000.

Gather up the fragments that remain.

As we look at the above passages. We see that Jesus believes that fragments are important. He takes us through different processes, which seem to result in fragmentation. If we apply the John passage to this we find that it is the heart of God that nothing be lost. If we will allow God to gather us up, in our fragmented state, nothing will be lost.

What then is the responsibility of the ministry or disciples in these things.
1.    Find what is available
2.    It is theirs to carry out the commands of the Lord that bring order to those God is working with.
3.    Present what little he has to Jesus.
4.    Carry the results to the people.
5.    Gather up the fragments that remain.

So many ministry today ignore the fragments and the fragmented.

Some of them would gather them, only to label them and get them out of the way. Give them busy work, keep them out of the way of where the real ministry is being done.

David illustrates the principle. He braved the lion and the bear to rescue his sheep.

  And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father’s sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock:  35 And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him. 36 Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God. 37 David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the LORD be with thee.          
1 Samuel 17:34-37

God is interested in fragments. A classic illustration is found in Amos 3:12.

Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; An adversary there shall be even round about the land; and he shall bring down thy strength from thee, and thy palaces shall be spoiled.    Thus saith the LORD; As the shepherd taketh out of the mouth of the lion two legs, or a piece of an ear; so shall the children of Israel be taken out that dwell in Samaria in the corner of a bed, and in Damascus in a couch.  (Amos 3:11-12 AV)

In this passage we find the shepherd retrieving that which no other shepherd would.  In rescuing the remains of the lamb or sheep, He retrieves that which others would leave. Our question would be, of what use is two legs or a piece of a ear.  Hear what the Lord told me.

1.    Two legs.

    a.    A sheep or lamb has four legs. This would mean that the two legs would represent lameness or a partial ability to walk. Even though they cannot walk straight or properly, Jesus, the Chief Shepherd would rescue them.

2.    A Piece of an Ear.

    a.    We are not told what piece, only that there is a piece.  This would be small to say the least, yet, the Chief Shepherd would go to rescue that portion of the lamb. This shows us that no matter how small the ability of the lamb to hear the Shepherd, if there is any ability at all, He will rescue the lamb.

In closing this message, what is God saying to us.

I believe God is looking for a people who will be willing to rescue men and women, boys and girls, that others have given up on. They have wandered away from God, or been driven away. The cannot walk straight, they can barely hear the Saviour calling.

I am reminded of the parable of the Wedding Feast.

Matthew 22:1-10
And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said, 2 The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, 3 And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. 4 Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage. 5 But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: 6 And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. 7 But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. 8 Then saith he to his servants,  The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. 9 Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. 10 So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.

Luke 14:15-24

15 And when one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said unto him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God. 16 Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: 17 And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready. 18 And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. 19 And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused. 20 And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. 21 So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind. 22 And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. 23 And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. 24 For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.

Communion Service:

I would like the bread distributed now please. Gather together in groups of four or five, each group having a croissant. Break off enough that there are a number of pieces left over. We want to gather the fragments afterward as an illustration and as a commitment that God has called this church to be a fragment gatherer. A ministry that will gather all the fragments and bring them to Jesus.

1.    Those with physical fragments
2.    Those with emotional fragments
3.    Those with mental fragments
4.    Those with spiritual fragments.
5.    Fragmented people
    a.    People who have been abused/fragmented by SRA
    b.    People with MPD/DID
    c.    People with Schizophrenia


Let us pray.