“What’s for dinner tonight, Mom?”
“Hmmm, I don’t know, guys, I’ve been so busy today, I haven’t really thought about it. Considering how late it is, it’s most likely going to be leftovers, I figure.”
This announcement was first met with ominous silence, then vocal disgruntlement.
“Leftovers again, Mom?” The tone in my daughters’ voices left little to doubt regarding their opinions over this choice.
Cocking an eyebrow, I turned towards them. “Excuse me?” I asked in my best “Are you talking to me voice?”
“Well Mom, we’re kind of tired of leftovers. A meal might be nice, you know, like fried chicken and mashed potatoes,” my youngest daughter responded with a pleading look.
“Yes Erin, I know,” I stated emphatically. “It might be nice for me too, especially if someone else were to cook it! It’s not like I haven’t been stuck in this kitchen now for over three weeks canning vegetables from the garden. I simply don’t have much of a desire to spend another two hours slaving over a four-course meal, as well. Sooooo, you can either eat leftovers from the last time I did cook, or you can pop something microwavable in the oven. Your choice.”
Tired, hot and grouchy, I stomped outside to see if there might be a hint of a cool breeze blowing. Temperatures had been in the high 90’s the past week, which had made my kitchen a virtual oven to work in. I knew I had been a bit more emphatic with my daughter than necessary just then. After all, she was just asking for her favorite meal, but doggone it, I was bushed. The previous three days had been spent in the kitchen canning, and today had been spent in the car running errands. Flopping down in the glider, I sat, staring off into space. I was literally all in, and didn’t feel I had a whole lot left to give to anyone.
“Not even Jesus,” my conscience whispered softly.
“Nope, not even Him,” I guiltily responded. So busy taking care of everything else that had demanded my attention of late, I hadn’t been spending much time with Christ. I couldn’t even remember the last evening I had opened my devotional book, and other than Sunday morning worship services, my Bible hadn’t seen much more use lately. Prayer? Well, other than a few half-hearted late night pillow requests, I’d have to say I was negligent in that as well.
“So in other words, you’ve been having some leftover Jesus, too, right?” my conscience niggled.
“Leftover Jesus?” I puzzled the phrase in my mind.
“Well, isn’t that what I’ve become lately?” the voice persisted.
“But…I’ve just been so busy…” my voice trailed off weakly. The excuse sounded feeble, even to my own ears.
“I think it might be more a matter of mixed up priorities, don’t you? Leftovers are what you have when you don’t have time or energy for anything else. Not much thought, planning, or preparation has to go into them. You simply warm them up when needed.”
“Yeah, but Lord, they’re still nourishing.”
“Not if you leave them for too long. Left unused, what happens to leftovers?”
“Well, mine usually grow mold, and become unidentifiable.” I answered glumly.
“Not too nourishing then, are they?” His voice questioned kindly.
Shaking my head slowly from side to side, I answer negatively, “No, they’re not.”
“I’m the Bread of Life, and I desire to feed your soul, Mary, but when you put everything else ahead of me, you’re going to grow hungry. That hunger, if not fed, will turn into a gnawing emptiness. Remember the story of Mary and Martha? You’re a Martha; concerned over many things. But the one thing that you should take time to seek, you don’t. Mary chose the good part, one which will not spoil, or be taken away from her. You can’t exist on the bread you consumed in the past. It’s grown stale. You need a fresh loaf.”
“I’m sorry, Lord.”
“I know you are, and I know your heart. When you put me first, I will help you realize what is needful, and what can surely wait. As they say in today’s world, don’t sweat the small stuff. It’s all just a matter of priority, you know.”
“No problem, kid. Just get in there and fix your kids something to eat, and then feed yourself from my Word.”
“Okay, give me five minutes?” I asked as I headed towards the house.
“It’s only going to take you five minutes to feed your kids?”
“You bet,” I chuckled. “They’re still getting yesterday’s spaghetti; I’m just tired of warmed-over Jesus.”
Copyright 2005 Mary Elder-Criss
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