Gathering up the fragments

There just isn’t enough time in the day. Have you ever heard that saying? Or maybe you have been the one to utter it. Time, time, time--it seems as though we can never get enough of it. Even with all the timesaving devices on the market, this generation still appears to have less time than previous ones. We have wonderful goals and aspirations of what we would like to achieve, if only we had the time. But I have come to a startling realization in my life, and that is, there is enough time available to do all God would have us do. We just have not mastered the art of gathering up the fragments.

In John 6 is recorded the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand by Christ with five barley loaves and two small fishes. As though it were not amazing enough for Christ to feed that many people with such meager supplies, after the five thousand ate, there was still more food to spare. In verse 12, Jesus commands the disciples to  “gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost” (King James Version). In that line are wonderful principles that we can apply practically to our lives. At face value, it may seem that Christ is talking here only about not wasting food. But if we look more closely, we will realize He is talking about much more.

In the primary sense the story teaches us the importance of not wasting any opportunities to do others good. It also teaches us how we should relate to spiritual things, especially the words of God. We should not allow any of them to be wasted. In Desire of Ages, a phenomenal book on the life of Christ, we read:

These words meant more than putting the bread into the baskets. The lesson was twofold. Nothing is to be wasted. We are to let slip no temporal advantage. We should neglect nothing that will tend to benefit a human being . . . . And there should be the same carefulness in spiritual things . . . . When the baskets of fragments were collected, the people thought of their friends at home. They wanted them to share in the bread that Christ had blessed . . . . So those who were at the feast were to give to others the bread that comes down from heaven, to satisfy the hunger of the soul. They were to repeat what they had learned of the wonderful things of God. Nothing was to be lost. Not one word that concerned their eternal salvation was to fall useless to the ground. (368)

I suggest that these words also have an application for how we manage our time. If we are to truly be successful in this life and reach God’s ideal for us, then we must learn to “gather up the fragments” of our time. We must capture the seconds and the minutes and make each of them count. Yes, it is true that we may not have an hour. But we have ten minutes. What can we do with that short time? If we were to really take inventory of our time, carefully examining how we spend each second, we would be shocked. We would see much time wasted on non-essentials--the extra fifteen minutes on Facebook scrolling through pictures, the five minutes spent in meaningless conversation. Every day we carelessly allow precious moments to pass by unimproved.

I am learning how to garden and have decided to apprentice with a master gardener. The other day we were out in the garden, and he was sharing with me the importance of finding efficiencies so that he can really maximize his time. He said he works on trying to save a few seconds here and there, and before you know it, he had saved a whole ten minutes.  In that brief conversation, the Lord spoke to me. In our work, chores, or other activities, we should be asking the Lord how we could do it better and shave time off in the process. Some of us do things entirely too slowly. What should really only take an hour, often because we do not apply ourselves, takes two.

So I am committing myself to gathering up the fragments and allowing no time to fall to the ground. I encourage you to take an inventory of how you spend each second of your day and see where you might be hemorrhaging valuable time. I also encourage you to ask the Lord to show you how you can become more efficient in your daily duties. By God’s grace, let us gather up the fragments of our time.

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