In John 6 verses 1-13 we read about the feeding of 5,000 men (verse 10) plus all the women and children. Quite a crowd! We can marvel at such a miracle and the fact that everyone ate their fill and there were twelve baskets that were filled with fragments after the meal, and all from five loaves and two fish.
But after we have finished marvelling at the mighty miracle that Christ performed, we can overlook something else in this story. Christ then told the disciples to gather up the food that was left. Typically today, many just throw rubbish anywhere and everywhere. Just look at the aftermath of rock concerts, picnics in the park, football matches and visits to the cinema. I recall having lunch some years ago with the senior executive of the company I worked for at that time and he paid by credit card. As we left the table, he looked at his receipt and just let it fall to the ground. In another case, a man came out of the post office, looked at his receipt and just threw it on the ground. I suggested, politely, that he should pick it up and he smiled. I again suggested the same thing and he smiled, waved his hand at me and just walked away. I don’t think that he may have understood much English!
That was not neat!
I recall visiting Singapore on a company convention in the 1980’s and litter was not allowed. I looked up the current situation and read that in Singapore “A litter law dating from 1968 means litter bugs can be fined $1,000 for the first conviction and $5,000 for repeat convictions. On top of that, you’ll be forced to do community labour. And if you offend three times, you’ll have to wear a sign, which states, “I am a litter lout”. They take it seriously!
Of course, in the United States today, littering is also strictly forbidden and punishable with a fine of at least $1,000 for each violation. In many other countries, similar laws exist.
Why am I raising this issue? Jesus Christ set the example by instructing His disciples to clear up after “the party”. When I first started attending church, I was pleasantly surprised by the attention to detail that church members made. Meeting halls were left as clean and tidy as they were found and, sometimes even tidier and cleaner! Even toilets were left in a clean condition.
Being tidy may seem a small matter but we have to be faithful in the little things (compare Luke 16:10). Do we tidy up at home, at church or wherever we are? Are we following Christ’s example of tidiness and order?
If so, that’s neat!