It’s been a busy few weeks for me, what between Easter, starting a new job and transitioning out of the old job, learning to drive a manual transmission, etc. As part of that transition, there has been a bit of a new budget to determine taking into account new factors such as a different income, a car payment and not having reimbursable meals through the week. All this together would reasonably precipitate a certain degree of anxiety. Thank the Lord, I do not struggle with anxiety, but that doesn’t mean that money and budgeting do not so very often enter my thought process (to be honest, usually multiple times a day), largely because I am still adjusting to marriage and a shared budget instead of my own little financial and budget world.
But thank the Lord for Easter.
Of course I mean that for all the wonderful, theological reasons (you know, that whole Jesus rises from the dead to give us an opportunity for reconciliation with God and an everlasting life part. That part’s pretty cool), and the fact it is my favorite holiday, but also because it left my fridge very, very full.
We were blessed to get to spend the holiday with three (and a half) good friends, enjoying a feast of wide variety and many leftovers. But leftovers and I have a mixed relationship.
Why I Like Leftovers:
- Pre-prepared lunches are way better than a cold cut sandwich
- Food my husband will eat instead of picking up fast food if he’s on his own
- There’s more! What’s not good about more of a good thing!
Why I Hate Leftovers:
- I don’t get to cook again for a while
- I run out of Tupperware
- Food might go bad before it gets eaten (it is easier for me to cook ingredients before they go bad than to make sure the last half-an-entree makes it into a lunchbox)
But last night I opened the fridge and was struck by something more than just how very full the fridge was and how I couldn’t find a place for my lunch bag: We have so much more than we need.
We have been so very blessed and no amount of fretting over our grocery budget is going to fill our fridge and cabinets. As a part of the clean-up crew for our church’s Easter “brunch” (donuts and copious amounts of bacon. Priorities, people), we found ourselves in possession of about five or six POUNDS of cooked bacon (and our friends got about two dozen donuts). We sent our friends home after dinner with about half of the leftover ham and salads, but yet received a quarter of a cake, half of another salad and some of the leftover ingredients of said salad. Our fridge has been filled not by our own hands, but by the hands of others.
All too frequently I find myself worried about the grocery budget, irritated that my husband has car issues this month, knowing that the money must come from the budget somewhere. But I must be reminded of Jesus’ great Sermon on the Mount, being reminded that “is not life more than food?” (-Matthew 6:25)
Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
One of the key points of this passage about not worrying that is often overlooked is that the birds of the air not only do not worry about their provisions, they also do not plant, harvest or store their harvest. They simply humbly receive from their creator. But this is hard to swallow, coming from our modern American culture that thrives on scriptures that condemn sloth and champion hard work (e.g. Proverbs 6:9-11). Of course this is a very valuable lesson to learn and live, to avoid sloth and live productive lives. However, we cannot allow our righteousness to lead us into pride or self-sufficiency. It is our deep-seated belief in self-sufficiency that leads us into these struggles with anxiety, our fear that we won’t be able to provide for ourselves.
But the thing is, we aren’t supposed to be self-sufficient. We aren’t supposed to be self-reliant. We are supposed to be God-reliant.
This is for a few reasons:
- God is our father and wants to care for us, lavishing love on us. (1 John 3:1)
- God is our creator and all of our harvests are His creation. (Pslam 24)
- We need to be humbled through our physical needs in order to recognize our spiritual need for Him. (Romans 11:18, 2 Corinthians 11:29-31)
- Our self-sufficiency breeds selfishness, laziness and pridefulness. (Luke 12:13-21)
Our anxiety over the fullness of our pantry (which is more than highly likely much more than that of most of the rest of the world and many of our neighbors) is evidence of our self-reliance, our distrust that God values us much more than the birds of the air. No matter the status of our bank account or your refrigerator, I guarantee you that the Lord has a plan to provide for your human needs. It may ask you to humble yourself, it may require you to be creative and rely on his creativity, it may require you to rely on the love of your Christian brothers and sisters. We glorify filling the fridges of others, but refuse others filling our own fridges.
Let the evidence of your leftovers be a reminder of his provision. Rest in the peace of his care.