My father, at 86, still refuses to eat leftovers. At one time a restaurant owner, his taste for food has never included something "warmed over". A cantankerous man, to say the least, he lets you know in no uncertain terms that yesterday's warm-ups are only good for "Rover".
During my lifetime, I've seen his wives (my mother and stepmother) scramble for something to satisfy him while the rest of the family ate yesterday's fare.
Now I don't advocate waste, and I have not inherited my father's dislike for salvaged food. Homemade soup, to me, is always better the next day. I also believe in being frugal, therefore, I often re-heat.
However, I've heard of marriages that were destroyed because of a woman's lack of flare in the kitchen. Often, the reason behind a shoddy meal is lack of caring. Some men come home to no dinner at all and have to cook for themselves and their children because of an uncaring wife. A man my husband once worked with left his wife because he came home to fried potatoes (and only fried potatoes) every night of the week. A little variety and versatility might have saved this marriage.
Often, our own actions place God in the position of a neglected husband. God doesn't like leftovers either - leftover love, time, talent, attention or money. He deserves the best. And he demands the best. "The firstfruits also of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the first of the fleece of thy sheep, shalt thou give him." (Deut. 18:4) God demands the firstfruits the "beginning, first, chief or choice part".
We're so busy with our own affairs that we sometimes dish out leftovers to God what ever is "left" after our priorities are "over". God is not pleased.
Our loved ones usually accept leftovers when it's reasonable to substitute them for a well-planned meal. God, also, is understanding when we have honestly tried to put Him first and circumstances hinder our good intentions.
Neglect frequently follows a lack of commitment. When love wanes, commitment ebbs. God desires our first love. In Rev. 2:4, Jesus said, "Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou has left thy first love."
Many of us rush around accomplishing the things that please us. Doing for God just enough to ease our own consciences. Sometimes, we venture into something for God totally unprepared. We give a shoddy performance and expect God to cover the slack. God forgive us!
We offer God things half-baked or warmed over and expect it to please him. It doesn't. Jesus said, "So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth." (Rev. 3:16) God doesn't want our leftovers. He wants first class, at least the best we can offer.
Our talents vary and our abilities are different, but each of us should perfect what God has given us and offer the best quality we can produce. We often hear that God looks at our "availability", but he also wants us to care enough to give our very best to Him. Frequently, our prayer life suffers because we put off going to the prayer closet. How would your spouse feel if you continually found excuses not to communicate?
One of our greatest pitfalls is managing our money. Tithe of our income does not even belong to us. It's God's. But, many of us wait to see if our paychecks s-t-r-e-t-c-h far enough to first meet our needs. Then we wonder why God doesn't bless us financially. I'll tell you why: because God's portion should be up-front.
How, then, do we fulfill our desires and yet see God's work done properly? By getting our priorities straight. "...seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matt. 6:33)
God gives his best to us. He does not deserve our leftovers!
Jacquelyn Horne is a former newspaper reporter who has won various awards including two Delaware School Bell awards. She has poems and articles published in magazines and Christian publications. She moved from Delaware to central Georgia 13 years ago.
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