12 Baskets Application

In the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) there is a story where Jesus is preaching to a crowd of 5,000 people. Now, he had originally been trying to steal a few moments of quiet time, but the crowd was so taken with the miracles He had been performing, they followed Him everywhere. Kind of like kids who won’t even let their parents have a moment to collect their thoughts. As He looked out onto the crowds, He knew the people would be hungry and would need to eat.

Here’s a point to catch: Jesus was looking for a bit of quiet time, but even when the people followed Him, He was most concerned with their needs. He asked Philip where they would get the money to pay to feed all of these people. Philip said it would take a half a year’s wages for everyone to get just one bite of food.

But then Andrew spoke up. He said, “Here’s a boy with five small barley loaves and two fish.” He wondered aloud how far that might go.

Jesus told everyone in the crowd to sit down (it was a nice grassy area) and they began to break the bread and to pass out the barley loaves and fish. Those loaves and fish were multiplied that day. Five thousand people were fed, and when the party was over and it was time to clean up, enough food remained to fill twelve large baskets with what was left over. Kind of like when you’re cleaning up after a party and find half-full cans of soda and bottles of water, right?

It’s easy to focus on the miracle of feeding 5,000 people with five loaves and two fish. I mean, that’s incredible, right? What a miracle! But, there are two things that people often miss in that story:

  1. It all came from a little boy who had brought his lunch. Somewhere behind the scenes, it all started with a mom who lovingly packed his lunch and sent him on his way. Moms behind the scenes are often the way great miracles begin. Never underestimate the mom who packs lunch or does any other number of loving acts of kindness for her children.
  2. The next thing is those leftovers. Not only were 5,000 fed that day, but there were leftovers enough to fill twelve large baskets. There was not only provision, but extravagant abundance.

At Oh My Cupcakes!, we’ve all worked those days where it was a “loaves and fish” kind of day. Despite how many large orders there are, and how insurmountable the tasks seem, the cupcakes almost seem to multiply and we have enough to fill our case, fulfill our guest orders, and even many times have abundance left over at the end of the day. For years we have donated our leftovers to the Bishop Dudley Hospitality House and to Bread Break, who distributes our leftovers all over the city.

But Twelve Baskets have long been on my heart. I’ve always wondered back to that story about what they did with those leftovers. Who did they feed? They obviously didn’t just let them go to waste. What did they do with the extravagant abundance? There are so many worthy and deserving people who I’m sure enjoyed the miracle of those leftovers.

This brings us to Twelve Baskets with Oh My Cupcakes! Rather than giving our end-of-day cupcakes to the same organizations each week, we will instead choose to serve one individual (and rotating) nonprofit per month. The organizations will go to our website and request a month of selection. We will choose which nonprofits are served for each individual month. We will be able to learn a little bit about each organization and what they do, and share it with people who visit our website. They will be highlighted as our selected nonprofit of the month, a brief snippet of their story will be shared, and a link to their website will be included.

At close each night, we will save what’s left over for the selected nonprofit and put them in the freezer. At the end of the month, a representative from that nonprofit will come in and pick up what we’ve collected for them.

Twelve months in a year. Twelve large baskets. Extravagant abundance and sharing with others. It is my hope that these organizations who work so hard to serve in our community will now have an opportunity to BE served. Maybe they choose to give the cupcakes to a well-deserving staff. Maybe they distribute them to the people they serve. Regardless, we will be working even through the final lifecycle of the cupcake to fulfill our mission of shining God’s love and making people smile with cupcakes.

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