I like souvenirs. I always have. One of the perks to having an office is the ability to display my souvenirs. As I type this, I see a small replica of Rodin’s sculpture “The Thinker” that I picked up while visiting his sculpture garden in Paris. Then there is the replica of the Library of Celsus that I snagged on a journey to the ancient city of Ephesus. I can’t forget the 1980 National Champion Georgia coke bottle my mom picked up after the big game, the landscape painting of Haiti I purchased from the compound where our mission team lodged, and the compact Bible printed in 1848 I nabbed from an antique store in Waco, TX. All of these items, along with dozens of others are scattered about my office. Everytime I look at them, special memories flood my mind.
One of the most well-known miracles Jesus performed is recorded in John 6:1-14: ”The Feeding of the Five Thousand.” It is one of my favorite stories, and I vividly remember hearing it as a child. I often wondered what it would have been like to have been the little boy who gave Jesus his dinner (5 barley loaves and 2 fish). I imagined watching him pray over that little meal and then distribute…and continue to distribute food until every person’s hunger was satisfied. That had to be an incredible experience. Just imagine that little boy telling the story to his grandkids years down the road.
Towards the end of the story, Jesus told his disciples to gather up the leftover fragments. And this is what John records in chapter 6 verse 13: “So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves left by those who had eaten.” There is a ton of significance to the number 12…especially in light of Jesus performing this miracle in a context where there was primarily a Jewish audience. There were 12 tribes in Israel and the fact that there were 12 baskets of leftovers no doubt pointed to Jesus as the “Bread of Life” (he would proclaim that in John 6:22-59)…the long-awaited Messiah.
But, I’m fascinated by another aspect of the number 12 and these baskets of leftovers. Jesus had called 12 disciples, and these disciples were the ones he tasked with collecting the leftovers. It was almost like he wanted them to have a souvenir of the miracle…a reminder that his provision is always more than enough! Of course, the food would not last forever even though it could have provided them nourishment for a short time afterward. I wonder what happened to those baskets. If I had been one of the 12, I would have kept it…as a souvenir…a reminder of what Jesus had done. I would have stashed it in my office and told everyone that entered about that time I was with Jesus, and he fed 5000+ people with a little boy’s dinner.
We have no indication of what the disciples actually did with those baskets. The Bible does not tell us the rest of that part of the story. However, I think souvenirs are important…especially if they remind us of God’s faithfulness. We are in a season of uncertainty right now as our nation battles the coronavirus. Our lives have been turned upside down. But one thing is for certain…God is faithful in this season. Every day we are witnessing His hand at work…little miracles are being performed in our lives…prayers are being answered. God’s provision is always more than enough!
I want to challenge you to identify an item that you can carry with you out of this season as a souvenir of God’s faithfulness to you and your family. Use your imagination…let your kids help you pick out that item. Place it in a prominent location in your home, and take opportunities in the days ahead to celebrate God’s faithfulness!