For this week’s Writer Wednesday feature, I’m honored to feature guest author Harriet Michael. A Christian writer, she has written a devotional and a book about prayer. I enjoy how her post today asks us to focus on the value of little things. Our lives are often so rushed that we don’t take time to reflect often enough. To kick off the heart of autumn, I’m pleased to share her inspirational post.
And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.” John 6:12 (ESV)
I first noticed this verse in an old handwritten book my father has on his shelf. It was passed down to him by his mother, who got it from her mother. It appears to be an old journal of some type. On the pages of the book are poems gathered and carefully written by the first owner. Some are famous poems while others are original work by family members including my grandmother as well as my father. The book is titled, “Gathered Fragments” and the verse I quoted above is written in beautiful penmanship on the first page.
These words in scripture were actually an instruction by Jesus to his disciples after the miraculous feeding of five thousand people. It was lunchtime and the people who gathered that day were hungry. Most of them had come spontaneously without planning far enough ahead to have brought lunches. Rather than dispersing the crowd, the disciples found a little boy with a small lunch of five loaves of bread and two small fish. After blessing the food, Jesus broke it into pieces, and offered it to the hungry crowd. Then, when the crowd had eaten all they wanted, the disciples were told to “Gather up the fragments, that nothing be lost.”
Isn’t that a beautiful instruction? How do you gather fragments? Do you have a collection of some kind? Perhaps you collect rocks, coins, or stamps. Maybe you like to make scrapbooks? Do you keep old photos and relics from years gone by; polished and put in a place of honor in your home or give them away as special gifts? My father has a plaque hanging in his home of an old letter he wrote to his mother from camp when he was a child. His sister found the letter and made a very special birthday gift for him one year. Maybe you have carefully held onto family heirlooms so you can pass them to the next generation. Or perhaps, you gather fragments in other ways. Autumn always makes me think of putting up produce for the wintertime by canning, freezing, or dying herbs, fruits, or vegetables.
There are so many ways to gather fragments. Through the years, I have learned another way. I have had more than one occasion to help gather the fragments of a loved one’s shattered life. Sometimes these lives were shattered at the person’s own hands. Even so, I find myself drawn to the gathering role. While others are shattering through accusations, anger or gossip, my heart aches and longs to help the broken friend or family member to gather his or her life back together. I remember how God has gathered my broken life and the lives of loved one and put them back together so many times.
What or who needs gathering in your life? What or who is in danger of being lost? Perhaps the shattered, broken life or lives are not people you know. Maybe you learn from the news of others, even groups of people whose lives have been shattered and your heart longs to help in whatever way you can, even if it’s through donations–you are still helping to gather up the fragments, that nothing be lost.
Even when we do simple, seemingly fun things like keeping scrapbooks, or framing old family pictures, we are keeping the heritage of those who came before from being lost– we are gathering fragments.
When the disciples gathered the fragments in the Bible story, they had twelve baskets left over. Though this was a miraculous occurrence, the underlying principle is still valid. If you or I form fragment gathering habits, we will find abundance in our lives too. And so will others whom we bless with our fragments–carefully gathered and lovingly given.
I am a Christian writer. Through my writing I often gather up experiences I’ve had or stories I know first-hand and repurpose them in order to bless others. Two years ago a childhood friend co-wrote a devotional book, “Glimpses of the Savior”, in which both of us re-tell fragments of our lives. We were both born and reared in Africa and many of our retold fragments are from our childhood long ago in a faraway land. It is six weeks of devotions from mid-November though the last week in December. It, along with my new release—a book about prayer, “Prayer: It’s Not About You”—are available through Amazon.