“And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work” — 2 Corinthians 9:8 (NRSV).
Does your family moan when you serve leftovers or are they grateful for the meal placed before them? Maybe it depends on what you’re serving.
In a recent “Upper Room” devotional, the author wrote, “I often serve my family leftovers to save myself a little time. The original meal is usually delicious. But when I serve the leftovers several days later, I sometimes feel that I haven’t given my best.”
The writer continued by comparing leftover food to serving herself spiritual leftovers as well. She doesn’t always make time for God. He isn’t her first priority. Like many, she says a quick thank-you each morning but doesn’t take the time to appreciate the opportunities God offers her.
The writer also admitted she doesn’t read God’s Word each day.
“Just as physical food nourishes our bodies, God’s Word is meant to feed our souls, and we are invited to receive it afresh each day,” she added.
Spending quality time reading God’s Word and in prayer prepares our hearts to want what God wants. Instead of being stingy with our time or wasting what He has provided, we desire to give Him our first fruits and not our leftovers.
I recall a woman who shared the story of a homeless man living in a tent near the office where she worked. Concerned about the approaching cold weather, she and other employees provided help, including a warm blanket.
When his tent accidentally caught on fire, he escaped, carrying only his new blanket. The employees purchased new clothing for him and made phone calls to find the medical attention he needed.
These employees didn’t donate used clothing for this man. They gave him new, their best. They also helped him to get the care he needed. Out of their abundance, they provided for his needs.
What would the world be like if each of us reached out to others in need without expectation of return? Instead of providing our leftovers to the poor, what if we gave them our best? Isn’t that what God did for us? He gave us His best in the form of a baby named Jesus.
All good things come from God, including His grace. At some time, we’ve all experienced grace. Someone has shown us kindness without expecting anything in return.
As humans, we have a capacity for grace. No human, however, can come close to expressing the grace God has shown us.
The ultimate witness we can present to the world is the love we have for one another. As Jesus instructed His disciples right before His death: "A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so also you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.”
That love flows from the very heart of God. He deserves more than our leftovers.
Carol Round is a transplanted Okie, originally from Lake Charles, Louisiana, who now resides in Grove. In addition to writing a weekly faith-based column, “A Matter of Faith,” Round spends time with her grandchildren, shooting photos, hiking, working in her yard, reading and studying the Word, volunteering at her church and going on mission trips. For more information, or to contact Round, persons interested may contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.