[CF Devotionals] 2014-03-19 - Leftovers

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Whether it’s the holidays or any other time of the year we all have a personal opinion when we hear the word leftovers in a sentence. In part it would be of more interest to you if the meal was something you enjoyed the first time. And there are some people who are just not interested in eating the meal more than once before waiting at least a week before having it again. Personally I love most leftovers and I don’t view them as a fallback when I don’t see anything else suitable to eat. My Mom also loved leftovers. In fact she would often look forward to a specific item in the refrigerator when she came home on her lunch hour. I remember the occasional disappointment when someone else thought of it first and she came home to find her idea had been consumed. I fall from the same tree of the less common when it comes to liking leftovers.

What’s more common of food that was from a meal the day before is it being last resort meal. I wondered if we sometimes give people we claim are important to us our “leftovers”. If you’ve ever felt like you were with someone who wasn’t really in the room with you then you’ve gotten leftovers. If you got the call that someone wanted to spend time with you when it turns out everyone else was busy you’ve gotten leftovers. If you felt more like the call you received was a courtesy call than a conversation from someone you’re supposed to know then you’ve gotten leftovers. If someone tells you they miss you, yet, while being many places and with you is not one of them then you’ve gotten leftovers. I don’t know about you, but I am not fond of this type of leftovers at all. While realizing we all make mistakes and don’t always give people our best and our full attention there does need to be a line we don’t continually cross or let others cross when they are considering themselves important to us and likewise us to them.

Although I am not in the habit of making others a reason or excuse for my behavior, I am realizing that some of the patterns I have developed responding to others is a result of a “leftovers” unwritten rule that sort of took the place of giving others our best. While part of a life group study I learned that quality time was tied for the top of my list of things that matter the most to me in relationships. I later realized that because of that fact I would often be willing to accept the leftovers instead of sharing how important the actual time with someone was to me. I’d gotten used to it and any time at all was better than nothing at all. The product was often unending frustration with some relationships and I could not get past them not changing for the better. And some of those people really aren’t ones I should be spending lots of time with so I just pray that I have the discernment to know the best course of action to take in order to develop the right relationships and move through the others for the intended purpose of them and not my own agenda. To quote the movie line in Bruce Almighty: “Who knows what they really want anyway?” What we want is often not what is good for us in the first place.

Most importantly, I don’t want to give God my leftovers. He always gives his best even when I don’t deserve it. After thinking about how it makes me feel when it happens to me I got extremely sad about how it might make Him feel. Or how it might make someone else put in my life feel if I do that to them. We can’t give everything to everyone and it was never intended we should. Yet being wise and thoughtful and prayerful about little things like actually “being in the room” with people when we’re engaged in an activity or being fully engaged in the conversation right in front of us and not on the cell phone unless it’s an emergency. I remember some years ago someone I knew for several years would have this habit of calling me on the phone and then talking to everyone who came into the room. The first time or two to answer a question didn’t bother me, but after a while it was as if I wasn’t even in the conversation and I was supposed to be the person she was talking to. When we don’t value people enough to get beyond giving them what’s left over when we had once offered them our full attention then eventually there will cease to be a relationship beyond acquaintance. And this always makes me think of a Richard Paul Evans quote I love so much. “We do not neglect people because we cease to love them; rather we cease to love them because we have neglected them.” In this society of merciless multitasking remember you don’t win by having the most toys or doing the most tasks at once at the time of your last breath. It wasn’t true thirty years ago and it’s not true now. Choose carefully.

“And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.”(Deuteronomy 6:5 KJV)

“But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law, which Moses the servant of the Lord charged you, to love the Lord your God, and to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and to cleave unto him, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.”(Joshua 22:5 KJV)

“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” (Matthew 6:24 KJV)

Deborah Durrett

[email deborah] cfpraydeb@gmail.com

All scripture references are from the New International Version (NIV) unless otherwise noted. Ephasis in the verses is from the devotional author.

CFD | March 2014 | Deborah's Devotions | Yesterday's Devotion | Devotional Topics