TITLE: Leftover Jesus?
By Mary Elder-Criss
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“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 an ominous silence, then disgruntlement.
“Leftovers again, Mom?” The tone in my daughters’ voices left little doubt regarding their feelings 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,” my youngest daughter responded.
“Yes Erin, I know,” I stated emphatically. “It might be nice for me too. What would make it even more enjoyable was 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 meal on top of it. 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 walked 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 daughters than needful just then, but doggone it, I was bushed. The previous three days had been spent in the kitchen canning, today had been spent in the car running errands. Flopping down in the glider, I sat, staring off into space. I was 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?” Puzzling over that phrase in my mind, I realized it was a completely accurate way to describe my relationship with Christ lately. Too caught up in everything else about me, I had pushed Jesus to the back, planning to pull Him back out when He was needed, or when I had more time to devote to Him.
The only problem is Christ wants to be first in our lives. Shoved to the rear, leftovers in my fridge usually sit there untouched and forgotten. They are only rediscovered after they are no longer any good, usually with a nice coating of mold. It doesn’t take long for something that had been nourishing to become spoiled and unusable.
The same thing can happen with our walks with Christ if we are not diligent to cultivate the relationship. What it all comes down to is regulating importance. In Acts Chapter 27, while Paul was caught in a tempest at sea upon sailing to Crete, we read an account of tackle and food being tossed overboard in order to lighten the load, so that the ship might not sink. Earlier, great significance had been placed upon those very items, but when it came down to survival, they were no longer essential.
How important is your faith today? What things are you involved in that might be usurping His rightful place? Would any of it bring joy to Him?
Rising from my place in the shade, I headed back towards the house. Last night’s spaghetti was just going to have to do for the kids, but I was ready for some quality time with God. I needed more sustenance. It was time to put Christ back central into my life. The idea of having anymore Leftover Jesus was unappetizing to Him and me, both.
Copyright 2005 Mary Elder Criss
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