We, well at least I do, think of leftovers as those annoying reminders of last night’s meal; what do you do with them! No-one really wants to eat them, and it takes all the culinary imagination you have to think of something creative to do with them, to make them re-appetizing.
Yet Jesus feeds five thousand men, really with their wives and children that brings it up to what 20 thousand? He feeds those who came to hear him. Hospitality is important to many cultures around the world, for those of the Middle East is one of the great virtues.
Abraham rushes from the door of his tent to meet the three visitors and prostrates himself, those angels who have come to tell him Sarah is pregnant.
My lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant. Let now a little water be fetched, and wash your feet, and recline yourselves under the tree. And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and stay ye your heart; after that ye shall pass on (Genesis 18:3–5). He gives of everything he has to these guests.
Jesus does not want these tired and hungry women, children and men to leave without something to eat, it would be rude, unforgivable! There is an unwritten duty to care for the stranger at your door, not just to care for those you love and know. It was an act of Mercy giving solace to those in need. It was an act of Faith that you would have enough, even when you didn’t. In was an act of Hope that by giving such much of yourself that you will be rewarded a hundred times fold.
He gives of himself, blessing the loaves and fishes, and they were fed and had leftovers. He gives until there is no longer a need. Leftovers become gifts of love.