Archive for April, 2016

There are almost always leftovers.  You know, the food at the end of the meal that you just don’t want to throw away so you wrap it up and put it in the refrigerator.  Sometimes it becomes lunch at a future date.  When I was a child we would occasionally slip it to the dog.  Usually it still ends up in the trash, just days or weeks later when we realize it’s been in the fridge for an undetermined amount of time and we are reasonably confident that what’s growing on it is not penicillin.

There is a phrase I’ve never heard.  “Why don’t you come have dinner with us?  We’re serving leftovers!”  You see while leftovers are convenient compared to the effort to create a nice, fresh meal, they aren’t what you serve when you want to serve your best.  No, if we are inviting guests we want to make a good impression.  We want to honor them with our best effort.

I realized something the other morning as I headed out to work here in Tacoma, Washington.  The sun was just rising behind the mountains in the east.  The dark, jagged silhouettes pointed upward into the multi-hued dawn of orange, pink, and various shades of blue.  It was an inspiring sight yet again.  As I got to my exit ramp, a spectacular view of Mount Rainier awaited and it struck me – God never serves me Leftovers.  His mercy and love is new every morning.

As I relished that thought I also realized that all too often I give Him my leftovers.  I have learned that first and foremost the Lord calls us to intimacy with Him.  He wants us to walk in close communion with Him.  It is because He loves us.  It is also because He knows that it is the best thing for us.  Yet too many times I come to Him at some later point in my day.  Time alone with God often gets relegated to a lesser spot on my TO DO list and He gets my Leftover time.  If we are not careful our giving can become just another bill rather than an opportunity to honor God with our first fruits.

I want to honor God – the lover of my soul, my redeemer, my Lord, and my friend.  That means I will not serve Him my leftovers, but rather He will get the best of what I am and what I possess.  He is worthy.

Now, a second thought closely followed.  When we give God our first fruits, He is able to do amazing things with what we have left.  When we tithe (that’s 10% off the top) God is able to accomplish more with the 90% we have in our hands, than we could ever accomplish with the original 100%.  I’ve seen this play out in my life and through the lives of others on a number of occasions.  Jesus said, “Give and it will be given unto you, good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over.”  In other words when we give cheerfully from whatever container we give out of, when we look at our container after we have poured out, it will be packed full to overflowing.

But there is also giving of our time.  I am a morning person so I know my best is first thing in the morning.  When I give God my morning, somehow He fills my day with so much more – more joy, more effectiveness, more divine appointments, and seemingly more life.

The final thought this morning brings me back to food.  My wife is a great cook.  She is from Louisiana and one of her specialties is a Cajun dish called Jambalaya.  It is a spicy rice dish that includes a lot of different meats.  She served it for our home group recently and it was delicious.  Of course we had leftovers which I dutifully wrapped up and placed in the fridge.  Over the next few days I let Lisa know she didn’t have to cook because I had LEFTOVERS, Yeah!  Lisa’s Jambalaya, as good as it is when she first cooks it, is even more flavorful over the next few days as the spices fully saturate the rice.

For me, Lisa’s Jambalaya serves as a good picture of what God does for us.  When we give Him ourselves, our first fruits, the best we have to offer He receives it as our faith offering.  What we have left – our Leftovers if you will, become saturated with God’s favor to such an extent that they are better than the original.  And that, my friend is something I look forward to.

Psalm 34:8a – Taste and see that the LORD is good.

Have a blessed day.  And don’t forget to be a blessing.



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