Is It “Leftovers Again?”

What mom hasn’t heard it, at least in America? “Easy come, easy go” has created a mentality that food should be always “fresh,” so throw out the old and make (or buy) new. As a result, statistics show food waste in our nation at a shocking $161 billion per year—or one pound per person per day, which is about 31% of the food retailed!

The grim fact is that, while we waste food, some 25,000 in the world die every day from starvation. Sad, sad.

As committed Christians, we need to be “good stewards” of our God-given resources. That means saving and using our leftovers. In a pastor’s home where I worked for many years, we had what was called “Dab Day”— yes, it was to take care of the leftovers! Was it ever “leftovers again”? Yes, but we fixed them up and enjoyed them. And almost nothing ever went to waste.

But the pastor often had dinner guests. Now was the time for leftovers? Did I hurry to the refrigerator and pull out the leftovers and serve them on paper plates? Never! We always prepared a special meal for guests, complete with our best dishes and best silverware. In other words, guests got our best.

Isn’t there a spiritual lesson here? Think about the “Guest” whom we have pledged to serve every day all day: our loving God. How does HE feel about what we give Him? Are we guilty of promising our best, then serving Him leftovers—what is left over after we have done everything WE wanted to do? Does the recording angel ever see our name and wonder, “Is it leftovers again?”

For example, we give time to God’s work. Is it our prime time, or is it what is left over after we have done our work, served our families and enjoyed our recreation?

We give Him talents—is it leftovers again?

We give Him money—is it more leftovers? How often do we spend on ourselves, then give God the leftover?

God does not delight in our leftovers. Nor has He promised to bless them. Jeremiah stated God’s terms of friendship: “Ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart” (Jer. 29:13). Notice: it is “all your heart”—absolutely NO leftovers!

How does our daily life hold up? When our service is divided between ourselves and Him (especially with self first), it is unacceptable. When we offer prayers of apparent sincerity and our actions run counter, God considers such service leftovers.

Are we an “example of the believers in word, in conduct, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity”? (1 Tim. 4:12), or is it only what is left over after we have served ourselves?

Paul called himself “a bond servant of Jesus Christ” (Rom. 1:1).  In the Roman era a slave often had no time to call his own. Every moment of his day and every part of his life belonged to his master.

Serving God can never be a part-time or a spare-time job.Once we have committed to serving God, every moment of our time belongs to God.

God is the most exclusive of guests. He deserves our best every day, all the time. He will not appreciate our leftovers.

Our God is merciful and just. He knows our abilities and our strength. He knows just how much we are capable of giving Him, and He has so skillfully planned for His earthly children that our vocations and even our leisure time can all be dedicated to Him.

For example, most of us enjoy reading, but our first thought should be, Will what I’m about to read edify and build me up in my most holy faith? Or is it light reading, fiction, novels, sports—things which entertain but do not upbuild my inner life? As a wary, alert Christian, I want only the very BEST in my mind.

Sometimes I need a break from the stress of the day. God gives us time to renew our bodies and minds, but our time still must be spent in ways that honor Him. I cannot take any time off my responsibility to God. He did not say, “You must obey my law—except when you are relaxing.” He made no exception for leisure time.

If Christ is the Lord of our life, He is Lord of our time, free time as well as work time.

My attitude can never be, when in Rome, do as the Romans do. My standard of conduct must be the same, whoever I am with.

Every waking moment is an opportunity to give God our best. When we bring to Him anything less, we are actually offering leftovers to our great Creator.

God is an exacting God, but who can even begin to comprehend the reward He holds in store for each overcomer!

When we are accepted and the door opens for us to enjoy what eye hath not seen, what ear has never heard, nor has ever entered the heart of man to conceive (1 Cor. 2:9); when those glorious ages of Eternity stretch out before us and ahead is life, life! life! with hearts overflowing with joy we will exclaim, “O God, my great God, how thankful I am that I gave You more than my leftovers!”                                                                     Elva E. Byers