(by Pastor Joe)
Chapter six is not only a pivotal passage in the Gospel of John, it is one of my personal favorites. And in these first dozen verses or so we get a glimpse of God's own recycling plan. The verse that leaps out to me is the twelfth and particularly the sentence: "Let nothing be wasted." After an awesome miracle where 10,000+ were fed, this command comes directly from Jesus. It seems a bit odd at first, until we look at it in the bigger scheme.
Jesus is not giving advice on how to preserve food in pre- Tupperware times. These baskets were not the ancient equivalent of doggy bags. Jesus is sharing a key lesson about how He operates. He is a recycler.
The word that is translated as "be wasted" is the exact same word we find in a much more famous verse- John 3:16. " For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not PERISH but have eternal life." God's desire is that nothing and no one perish, be lost, be wasted, be destroyed. (See 2 Peter 2 :9)
This verse here is a small reminder that all of the broken, unwanted, left over people are valued by God. None are to be left behind. It also shows us that God can use and redeem all of the broken, unwanted, left over parts of our lives for His glory. He is the God who counts our tears (Psalm 56:8). He can redeem and recycle even the most painful mistakes and wounds of our lives because nothing is wasted with God.