“Then the Lord said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions.”
–Exodus 16:4 (NIV)
Here is an excerpt from an article I found on the Internet called, “Why I Hate Leftovers”. I wanted to explore it with you, because I think it says something about how all of us live our lives in Christ.
“I grew up in a frugal household led by my loving grandmother. Grams cooked three meals a day for me, my brothers, and my uncles every single day of her life. And while we rarely left the dinner table without cleaning our plates, if food ever was left over, none of it would go to waste. My grandmother was smart and frugal and she used every bit of food, no matter how old, to repeat meals until nothing was left.
“The thing is, before I was old enough to help her, when we would sit down to eat leftovers, we never actually knew what we were eating. Leftovers tend to collapse into mystery mush, and since my grandma was so frugal, she’d try to repurpose odds and ends from the fridge and merge them, Frankenstein-style, into whatever dish we were eating.”
I don’t know about you, but this excerpt makes me glad I don’t belong to that family. But it also brings up an interesting point.
Let’s say that God has blessed you with great health, and you work at a sporting-goods store. You are a Christian, but your obsession for shooting hoops and playing tennis with your clients takes up all of your free time. As for your work life, your schedule is filled with deadlines and meetings. You mumble an excuse to God, but the result is that your service for Christ grows more and more hollow. Little more than a duty or a ritual you mechanically perform, it wanes like a candle which has almost burnt out.
You may find yourself in a different situation, but we can all do the same thing without realizing it. That is, we hord our blessings and store them away, like leftovers which we dutifully put in our spiritual Tupperware. Then, when we have a minute and we feel especially pious, we offer blessings to God. But when they have become moldy, and turned into a kind of spiritual mystery mush, do we really expect Him to receive them? I don’t think we always realize it, but when we do this, we are treating the creator of the universe with a good-will mentality.
Jesus wants our walk with Him to be exhilarating and refreshing. He tells us that He will never leave us or forsake us. But often, we don’t receive from Him because we move away, offering Him our second best instead.
“You’re right,” you say. “I have offered Christ my leftovers, and now my joy is gone. I’m going in circles, and my life is a merry-go-round.”
If you agree with that statement, don’t give up, for following Jesus closely is a life-long pursuit. In order to find our way back to the abundant life which He offers, let’s concentrate on the solution found in the book of Revelation.
While Jesus was once speaking to the church in Ephesus, He is still speaking just as clearly to you and me today. Due to time constraints, we will only zero in on the last part, but leading up to that, He establishes important truths that we can’t overlook. For example, Jesus spoke about the Ephesians’ works and their patience, which were exemplary in many ways.
According to Acts Chapter 19, this church faced constant opposition that would make you and me throw in the towel. But rather than giving in to this immense pressure, the people of Ephesus took a stand for Christ, because they didn’t find fulfillment in the false literature which they burned. This defiance led to a riot. Compared to that rebellious example, I have faced little or nothing.
I have been blessed beyond measure, and I need to ask myself what price I would pay to serve Him. But going on from there, let’s look at the community where the Ephesians lived.
Ephesus was a bustling commercial center, which might be compared to L.A. today. So, knowing all the spiritual pollution the people put up with, Jesus commended their investigation of the false teachers in their midst.
He knew that the Ephesians were going through unthinkable suffering, and He wanted to comfort and encourage them. He wants to do the same for you, but as scripture says, we must first be still before Him.
The Bible tells me another thing, though. The Ephesians were careful to look into what they were being taught. God wants only the best for you, and He longs to guide you with the light of His Word. So in our convenience-oriented society, and with the proliferation of questionable material on the Internet, we would be wise to do the same. Our Christianity has become a hodge-podge of truth and error–not unlike that leftover mush I mentioned at the beginning of this blog. Instead of standing up for what we believe, most of us sit down, and go along to get along.
So when you feel like your world is a mixture of steroids and painkillers, just remember that God is for you, and that with Him, all things are possible.
If this sounds foreign in your world, it’s because most of us have a leftover mentality. That is, we have slipped away from the love we had for God at first. In spite of the positives, the Ephesians were doing the same thing.
Jesus loved them anyway, and He said that the one thing He had against them was that they had grown cold before God and each other. He told them to repent and change their direction, or He would come and remove their candlestick.
They were simply doing what we do many times–offering God leftovers. Instead of moving towards Him, they were moving away. As the light of the world, Jesus basically told them that if they wouldn’t walk with Him, He couldn’t walk with Them.
To paraphrase Jesus in my own words, I ask you this question. Why settle for the lunacy of leftovers, when you can feast with the light of the word every day?
Thank you for reading this, and may the Lord give you a wonderful week! We are trying to reach people who are hurting, so if God lays it on your heart, please consider becoming a partner with us. If you would like to make a donation, please visit www.hcmachaplains.org and click on the Donate Now link. You can also send donations by mail to HCMA (Healthcare Chaplains Ministry Association). Our ID number is 560. The address is 101 S Kraemer BLVD, Suite 123A, Placentia, CA 92870.
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