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Any Leftovers?
Photo: Tracy Scott-Murray
"...(The people) all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish"(Mark 6:42,43).

So Jesus flunks a catering test. Actually this isn’t a bad score; after feeding something like ten thousand people on that Judean hillside, a few leftover baskets of food isn’t a substantial overage. But why would an all-knowing Jesus miss the mark at all?

In the first book of the Bible, Genesis, Jesus as Creator is a master of precision. Science’s “anthropic principle” suggests that our planet has the perfect size and mass, the exact necessary distance from the sun and other worlds. But when it comes to personal gifts to his human race, he goes over budget every time.

Rational Miracles

Jesus and his disciple pals showed up at a wedding feast in Cana—one of those events which likely lasted several days. Right at the end, they ran out of wine. Just a few more bottles of Martinelli’s probably would have gotten the festivities to the finish line. What does Jesus do? He miraculously fills six large stone jars; Bible experts think He may have conjured up to ninety gallons of the best wine anyone ever tasted. People were probably drinking the leftovers and remembering Jesus’ generous providence for two months after that.

Why these over-the-top, budget-breaking displays of caring? It’s a wonderful truth that our redeemer and friend Jesus simply will not UNDERspend—and lose us.

Stephen Ambrose, in his towering WWII bestseller, D-Day, observes: “War is waste. Men and equipment – and generals – are expendable so long as their destruction or death contributes to the ultimate goal of victory. Hundreds of young men and boys, trained at enormous expense, were killed [on June 6, 1944], many – perhaps most – of them before they could fire one shot. Equipment losses were staggering. Hundreds of tanks, trucks, self-propelled artillery, jeeps, and landing craft of all types went to the bottom or were destroyed on the beach by German artillery. Thousands of radios, rifles, machine guns, ammunition boxes, K and D rations, BARs [Browning automatic rifles], bazookas, flamethrowers, gas masks, hand grenades, and other materiél were destroyed, abandoned, or sunk.”

The Allied forces flooded Omaha Beach with a vast “overage” of firepower; they overcame the tragic waste factor with raw guts and a sheer extravagance of weaponry. Why? The world itself hung in the balance; the dark shadow of Nazism simply had to be defeated—and right then. There could be no tomorrow.

Radical Spending

World War II statistics may seem a bit vintage and black-and-white in their ability to still inspire us. But when I consider a heavenly Father’s lavish overspending on the returning prodigal son—the hugs, the ring, the new shoes, the rich family robe, the fatted calf—well, that’s me in the story. That’s me with the 90 gallons of Martinelli’s.

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By David Smith. Copyright © 2010 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®.

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