Archived Story

Give the best instead of leftovers

Published 4:37pm Monday, November 28, 2011

I’ve heard it said in a sermon before to not give God your leftovers.

To me, hearing that phrase and fully understanding it are very different.

Let me explain. Last week, before the newsroom had Thursday off to spend with our families and stuff our faces with Thanksgiving food, I had every good intention of baking some festive cupcakes.

Well Monday turned into Tuesday, Tuesday turned into Wednesday, and Wednesday we had to write content for three newspapers and two special sections.

Needless to say, there was no time for festive cupcakes.

Thursday I had a wonderful time with my family. We had turkey, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and more. We also had a table full of desserts, most of which didn’t get eaten.

So when Friday came around I decided the best thing to do was to share my scrumptious leftovers with my coworkers.

I brought pumpkin pie, pecan pie, muffins, banana bread and a cheese ball. Of course everything was delicious, but I knew the treats I brought weren’t my best. I had given my coworkers my leftovers.

Now, I know they appreciated them, but I also know I could have spent the time to really give them something from the heart.

But giving them my leftovers was easy, as leftovers always are.

What’s left after you’ve enjoyed the main meal is sort of just an after thought. You’ve already made it so you just have to pop it in the microwave and reheat. It’s that easy.

Sure, good things can come from leftovers. Some food, to me, is even better the second time around, like my Nana’s Pasta Fazool. But most of the time leftovers just aren’t the same as serving something recently made in the kitchen.

With leftovers in mind, think about this upcoming holiday season.

Most of us will be running around purchasing Christmas presents almost up until the big day. We’ll be marking our calendars for family get-togethers, Christmas parades and after-holiday shopping. We’ll be taking vacations, relishing in our expensive gifts, relaxing by the fire and hoping the relaxation could go on into the New Year.

But amidst all of the hustle and bustle, my hope this year is that we wouldn’t just give God our leftovers.

I hope we won’t be too busy for what God really has planned for the holidays, his real purposes in and through our lives.

In Matthew chapter 22 of the Bible, Jesus tells the Pharisees and those listening that the greatest commandment and our purpose is to “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.””

In the past few months, as a youth minister’s wife and reporter, I’ve seen only a glimpse of what real hunger and real thirst looks like. I’ve seen only tiny fragments of what it looks like to have nothing or very little.

I’ve seen both of these through visits to food banks and other helpful agencies, as well as children and teenagers whose families barely have enough food to eat or money to pay their electric bill to keep their house warm.

After seeing things like that, I know that I am truly blessed beyond measure, and I know you feel the same way, too.

We are all blessed, and we all have a lot to give to our communities and to those in need.

So I hope this December is not just “the most wonderful time of the year,” but also the most giving – that the people of God would serve their best, not just their leftovers.

When God was creating all of us I’m sure we weren’t just an afterthought.

God has blessed us. Let us bless him this holiday season.

Jessica Hargett is a staff writer for The Outlook.