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Christ's Care for the Fragments

Christ's Care for the Fragments

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY JOHN EDGAR M'FADYEN


"Gather up the fragments, that nothing be lost"

BY JOHN EDGAR M'FADYEN


"Gather up the fragments, that nothing be lost"

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Feb 17, 2013
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02/17/2013

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CHRIST'S CARE FOR THE FRAGMENTS
BY JOHN EDGAR M'FADYEN"Gather up the fragments, that nothing be lost"Like all great things, the gospel of Jesus is toolarge to imprison within the walls of a definition ;but if it is to be defined at all, it could not be definedmore simply or justly than as "care for the frag-ments." Everywhere throughout His ministry,everywhere throughout the Gospels, shines His in-terest in the broken things of life. They interestedHim, because they vexed Him ; and they vexedHim because they were missing their high destiny.Fragments are failures, and it was the mission andthe delight of the Divine Artist to gather themtogether and bind them into a complete and beau-tiful whole.And so it would not be unjust to find the mottoof the life of Jesus in the words He addressed toHis disciples after the feeding of the five thousandù "Gather up the fragments that remain, thatnothing be lost." These words, slight as theyseem, and humble as was the sphere to which theywere first applied, are as a window through whichwe may look into the gracious soul of Jesus. Theyi73174 THE CITY WITH FOUNDATIONSare not random words; they are words that rosefrom the very bottom of His heart, revealing thedepths of its tenderness and the impulse of Hisentire ministry. Spoken first of fragments of bread, they are symbolic of His consuming andundying interest in fragments of every kind ù of time, of manhood, of every broken thing.Very wonderful is this whole scene, and mostwonderful of all is Jesus. The vast, hungry crowdis gathered in a spot, not far from the lakeside,where there was much grass. Jesus faces thecrowd, and here, as everywhere, He is the Master.Gracious as He is, He is every inch a King. Hespeaks as one having authority, and at once themovement and confusion of the crowd change toorder and beauty. They recline in companies uponthe green grass, and, with a true eye for the pictur-esque, Mark ù or his informant ù compares them,as they lay, with the brilliant colours of their dressesshowing up against the grass, to flower beds. Itis a happy picture; a touching one, too, when we
 
think of the sore and troubled hearts that beatbeneath many a coloured robe. It is a blessedthing to see the poetry as well as the pathos of sucha crowd.But all was not over when the feast was done.The greatest thing was yet to come, and Jesus wasyet to utter one of His most memorable words.There were broken pieces left, enough to satisfyCHRISTS CARE FOR THE FRAGMENTS 175other hungry men, and these must not be carelesslywasted. There were possibilities in the fragmentswhich none saw but Jesus. The crowd had ap-peased its hunger and thought of nothing more,and it would seem that the disciples thought nomore of the fragments than did the crowd. Nobodysaw their value but Jesus; so, "when the peoplewere satisfied, Jesus said to His disciples, ' Gatherup the fragments ù the broken pieces ù that remain,that nothing be lost.' " One might have beentempted to marvel at what seems the almost toorigid economy of Jesus. Why so much interest infragments of bread? How could they ever serveagain ? But the marvel dies away the moment weconsider the reason, for though Jesus is alwaysauthoritative, He is always reasonable. "Gatherup the fragments," He says, "in order that not athing may perish." The word here is the same asthat used of the lost sheep, the lost coin, the lostson.The world is full of fragments, and that must notbe, says Jesus; let them be gathered up. All aboutus men and things are perishing, and that mustnot be, says Jesus; let nothing perish. He is thetrue Son of the God of whom it is said that He dothnot wish that any should perish."That not a thing should perish" ù it was of fragments of bread that Jesus spoke those earnestwords; but they illumine not that incident alone,176 THE CITY WITH FOUNDATIONSbut the whole of His ministry from the baptism tothe cross, and He wrote them literally on the pagesof history with His heart's blood. Nothing vexedHim so much as to see things perishing ; it was fortheir sake He came. "The Son of Man," He said,speaking of Himself, "came to seek and to savethat which was lost " ù and the word is the same asthat here used for the fragments of bread. To Him
 
the fragments were the most interesting things inall the world; and His command to His discipleswas then, and is now, that they too should care forthe fragments.This care for the fragments has a hundred appli-cations in the life of Jesus. The fragments of timeto Him were very precious, and He did not wishthat any should perish. The day was long enoughùfor were there not twelve hours in it ? ù but it wasnot too long, and there were not too many of themin which to do His Father's business. ThereforeHe gathered up its every fragment and filled it fullof work or rest or prayer; for He never forgot thatthe night was coming when men work no more.Beautiful, too, is the interest of Jesus in theancient fragments of revelation. He knew that HisFather had spoken to men in the olden time; andHe treasured those fragments of psalm and wisdomand prophecy and gathered them together uponHimself. He came not to destroy those relics of the past, but to fulfil, to complete, to illumine theirCHRISTS CARE FOR THE FRAGMENTS 177fragmentary suggestions, that nothing might belost.But dearest of all to Jesus were the broken livesof men ; and here, if anywhere, was the passion of His heart that nothing might be lost. The worldwas full of such fragments; but Jesus was the firstto see how very precious they were, and how muchcould be done with them. The womanhood thathad been shattered by sin He restored to conscienceand honour by the purity of His mighty love, sothat the sinner who had been but too well knownin the city was touched to tears by the sight of Him,and in a penitent burst of pure and grateful devo-tion, fervently kissed His feet. Thus, by the magicof Christ's love, was many a fragment of fallennature gathered up and tenderly put together again.Love and insight went together ù love for the frag-ments, insight into their possibilities. His ministrywas a continual gathering and restitution of thebroken pieces. "Jehovah doth build up Jerusalem;He gathereth together the outcasts of Israel." Itis a Christlike thing to care for the fragments.Every life that is broken ù whether by poverty ordisease, by folly or ignorance, by sin or sorrow, bycrime or misfortune ù is another call to arise and doas did the Master, who loved the fragments andgave His life that they might be made whole.This great word of Jesus is as applicable to the

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