Nothing Wasted

“Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” —John 6:12 NIV

I learned resourcefulness and frugality early. I was nine years old when my father lost his job and used his skills as a carpenter to put food on the table. Meatless meals, such as bowties and cottage cheese or tomato soup and potato pancakes, were the standard fare, as were leftovers.

The truth of the adage “waste not, want not” was a lesson well learned, for I needed to apply it when my husband and I were raising a family and building a house on one income. I threw nothing away. Even small, one-serving portions of vegetables were saved and used in a stew. Sometimes I forgot about the leftovers stashed in the refrigerator until obnoxious odors sent me on a search-and-pitch mission. At least a healthy growth of mold assuaged the guilt I felt throwing away food.

As the children grew, so did our income, and I began to be less frugal. By the time the empty nest years began, disposable dust rags, toilet bowl cleaning pads, kitchen and bathroom wipes, and eyeglass lens cleaning cloths filled our cupboards. It’s easy to become careless when there’s plenty.

Jesus, God’s Son, who had the riches of heaven at His disposal, disliked waste. After He miraculously fed a crowd that numbered close to ten thousand people (the Gospels indicate five thousand men were fed that day, but that number did not include women and children), He told His disciples to gather up the leftovers.

“Let nothing be wasted,” He said.

Jewish tradition dictated that bread scraps be picked up and saved, since the Jews considered bread, which often represents life, as a gift from God.

What a far cry from our attitude today! A mentality that everything is disposable has spilled over into how we view relationships and life itself. Aborting an unborn child, abandoning a spouse for greener pastures, and assisting the suicide of a chronically ill person demonstrate today’s throw-away attitude: “When you’re done with it or don’t want it, throw it away, whether or not it can still be used.”

The speaker for the 2014 Punxsutawney Christian Women’s Conference, Linda Evans Shepherd, had a daughter who was paralyzed and brain damaged in a car accident when she was eighteen months old. Laura was now in her twenties and had a host of ongoing medical problems. But she was able to communicate “yes” and “no” with her tongue. Linda said Laura was doing what she wanted to do, which was to live. She has since passed away.

In spite of their difficult life, however, Laura brought much joy to her family.

“Let nothing be wasted,” Jesus said.

Nothing. Not the shards of our fractured lives and shattered dreams. Not broken relationships or wrecked bodies. Gather the fragments and give them to the One who will make each fragment count.

Thank You, Lord, that, in Your hands, nothing is wasted. Amen.

Read and meditate on John 6:1–13.

From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea: 101 devotional readings to savor during your time with God © 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

The Miracle of Love

Dean and me in the spring of 1973

Read and reflect on Ecclesiastes 4:9–12

Then the LORD God made a woman…and he brought her to the man. – Genesis 2:22 (NIV)

“Love is a miracle,” I told my husband the day after we attended a wedding.

The groom’s love for his bride shone from his eyes, was etched in every line of his face as he watched her approach him on her father’s arm.

“You must be so in love,” I told him after the ceremony.

He beamed. “Oh, I am!”

Love is a miracle. Think of it—one man meets one woman and falls in love—and she loves him in return. What, with all the billions of men and women in the world, are the chances of that? Yet it happens everyday.

I remember when I met my husband. I was drawn to him instantly—his gentle manner; his tall, slender frame; his trim beard; and curly, shoulder-length hair—but it was those twinkling blue eyes that did me in. That’s why all the love interests of the protagonists in the novels I write have twinkling blue eyes.

What a wonder when I found out that he was attracted to me, too! I mean, I was the girl who, in grade school, could never get anyone to “like me back.” Who wondered in high school if she’d ever go steady (I did). Who, in college, accepted a proposal from someone she thought was the love of her life, only to have him drop her a year later without an explanation. Who, after having her heart shattered, gave up on love and focused on a career.

And then, three months after vowing never to fall in love again, I met Dean. On our first date I knew deep down, where there are no words, that he was “The One.” We married eleven months after we met. The heart, indeed, has a mind of its own.

 I still thrill at the sight of him. Time and life, with all the disappointments and curve balls and tests and trials, have only strengthened and deepened the bond we share. And, wonder of wonders, after experiencing me at my worst, after 48 years, he loves me still!

Some call it chemistry. I call it God.

After all, He is love (1 John 4:16). He created woman for man and performed the first marriage ceremony (Genesis 2:18–25; 1 Corinthians 11:8–9) because He knew that “two are better than one” (Ecclesiastes 4:9–12). He blessed us with the gifts of romance and passion, which, within the boundaries He set, are gifts, not sin (Song of Solomon).

Love is a miracle and miracles are matters of the heart, not the head. If you have to talk yourself into loving someone, it isn’t love. With love, using your head and all your reasoning ability doesn’t work.

The miracle of love. One man. One woman. Loving—and in love with—each other. Wow.

Dear God, thank You for the love that blesses and brightens my life. Amen.

From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea for the Seasons, © 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved. Used with permission.