Too Full

by Joanna Pierce on October 17, 2018

Sometime ago, I mentioned how spätzle has been a staple in our household for generations. What’s really a nominal food for most German families is a real treat for us. Spätzle mealtime is a big to-do.

It’s difficult to describe the festivity that ensues around the food, nor the pleasure we take in savoring every bite. In all transparency, we eat too much of it. But, regardless of how full we are, none of the spätzle ever goes to waste.

That was an unwritten family rule everyone followed until one meal, when my husband—then fiancé—was invited to dinner. I cannot express my family’s utter shock and horror when a plate returned to the kitchen after dinner that held lifeless spätzle noodles strewn carelessly around the plate, still drowning in their succulent gravy.

We observed a moment of silence for more than one reason in the kitchen that night. And, what followed later that evening was one of the most difficult discussions we’ve ever had in our relationship…

And he took the seven loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks, and brake them, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets full (Matthew 15:36–37, KJV).

Being too full to finish isn’t an earth-shattering concept. Just as my husband was too full to eat the straggling spätzle noodles, people in Jesus’ time did the same (albeit with different foods).

Jesus performed a great miracle by transforming a mere 7 loaves and a few fishes into enough food to feed 4,000 men plus women and children. We celebrate the fact that Jesus’ miracle-working power went above and beyond, as the disciples had to collect leftovers—7 baskets full.

But, when I came across this Scripture the other day, my heart was unsettled and I was left to prayerful pondering. Yes, we can be thankful Jesus performed a miracle of abundance, but why were there leftovers? Did Jesus really multiply the food too much?

Scripture tells us the people ate until they were filled and then stopped eating. But, there was still food left over. Don’t get me wrong—our bodies (created by God), have a built-in system to stop us from overeating. We can be full and not need to continue to eat. However, this Scripture isn’t just about bodily hunger; it’s about spiritual hunger too.

We can feel “full” and stop eating, but it’s not because God wants us to stop. We stop eating because of our flesh. Flesh stops us from pursuing the miraculous in God. Similar to the thousands who stopped eating in Scripture, we can stop feasting on what God has given to us. Heaven help us if there’s ever a miracle left over we’re not interested in!

We can’t get too full of the physical not to be interested in the spiritual. We shouldn’t cherry pick the blessings of God and then leave behind what disinterests us. We must not follow only portions of Scripture and disregard the rest. We need to take what God has for us in full and eat beyond our full. God knows what we can stomach, literally—both physically and spiritually.

The spätzle noodles left behind were just as good as what my husband ate that night, and could have been even more satisfying if he forged on to let them squeeze down into the cracks and recesses of his stomach. (If you don’t believe me, you’ve never eaten spätzle.) The same holds true with what God has for us.

Don’t let anyone pick up fragmented baskets of leftovers around you. Eat what God has allocated for you because He’s given it to sustain you and bless you beyond what you think you need. Let’s not get too full of God and the miraculous today.