At one time the bison roamed the American plains in huge herds until they were killed by the thousands. They were systematically hunted down until they almost became extinct. Fortunately the remnant was protected by laws and given preserves until they made a comeback. Several other cases of the discovery of animals long-believed to be extinct exist, perhaps as remnants of once thriving species.

Even today remnants of unknown primitive tribes in the Amazon or Asia have been discovered. Just because something is a trace, vestige or fragment of the whole does not mean it is useless. Skilled artists and craftsmen can still repurpose such pieces into beautiful, even useful creations.

In the Old Testament we read how God preserved a remnant of 8 souls to repopulate the earth after the world flood (1Pe 3:20). After the exile of Israel and Judah into captivity for 70 years, Ezra the priest tells them, “God has been gracious in leaving us a remnant.”
(Ezr 9:8) Isaiah, Jeremiah and Zechariah all echo the same message (Isa 11:11) (Jer 23:3) (Zec 8:12).

In the New Testament Paul, speaking of the elect whose heart was not hardened and who chose grace rather than works for their salvation, wrote, “So too at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace.” (Rom 11:5)

For those who are being saved by grace, God’s power destroys the wisdom of the wise and the intelligence of the intelligent (I Cor 1:19). He chose the foolish and weak things of the world to shame the wise (1 Cor 1:27-28). Jesus chose fishermen not philosophers to be His apostles. God has always used the humble and meek to accomplish His will (Pv 3:34) (Jas 4:6) (1 Pe 5:5). The skillful craftsman can take remnants of glass and create a beautiful stained glass window, but God can take broken and wasted lives and create His eternal mosaic of people—The church of Christ Jesus (Gal 3:26-27).

—Jim Bailey