What Do You Do with Left-Overs?

We have been blessed in this country with a lot.
When my boys live in the refrigerator, “Trying to find something to eat”, I don’t have much sympathy.
We have plenty.
(Until I need something to eat…)

When my husband was home, all the leftovers were eaten for lunch the next day or the next.
Now, no one eats them until I make it a “eat leftovers for dinner” meal.
Then we finish them up and have something different the next day.

Often if I wait too long, our dogs enjoy a treat.
Or if I wait too too long, it’s dumped.

What does God expect us to do with our plenty?

When the Israelites were giving for the building of the Tabernacle in the wilderness, they gave so much Aaron had to tell the people to stop.
Where did they get all these extra things?
Weren’t they slaves escaping Egypt?
Yes, but remember as they left, the Egyptians gave them everything just to make them leave.

Did God give them those things so they wouldn’t be poor when they retired?
He was providing them every day with manna and water and the cloud.
They needed nothing.
So when time came for the need of the Tabernacle, they had those things to give.

God blesses us so we can bless others.

What about Joseph in Egypt?
He knew about the seven years of famine coming, so he saved during those years of plenty.
When the famine did come, he fed the entire world—
With left-overs.

Don’t you wonder what Jesus’s disciples did with those twelve baskets full of bread and fish after they fed 5,000 men plus women and children?
Jesus told them to gather the left-overs.
But they were out in the wilderness.
Did they eat it the next day when no miracle happened?
We aren’t told.
But I wonder.

Proverbs talks a lot about being good stewards of what we are given.
The rich man gives to the poor.

As Americans, we are a rich people.
We don’t go hungry, unless we choose.
Or are in bondage to drink or drugs.
For years, we have fed the world—with our left-overs.
We didn't suffer for it.

Jesus talks a lot about money.
It shows our heart.

Many families don’t have any left-overs when it comes to money.
After bills are paid, there isn’t anything left.
There’s no “give” in their budget for any emergency. (If they have a budget.)

When COVID put many out of work, people realized how much they depended on that next paycheck. 
Dave Ramsey’s ministry helped those people have leftovers.
His app helps budget money (designate where your money goes, not just see where it went).
He also helps people get out of debt.
Unfortunately, he’s not a magician or that rich uncle that died for you to inherit his money, you must work for it.

Many people after forced quarantine made changes to pay off debt and change how they spent, so they would have left overs.
Some choose drastic measures to get out of debt's bondage—
They moved to a smaller house.
They sold their new car and bought a cheaper car.
People found ways to cut their groceries.
(This one has been a tough one for me.)

By making that commitment to live under their means, these families are finding leftovers.

Those left-overs are used for savings for emergency funds—like unforeseen car repairs, medical needs.
Not—"I need new tires" or "Christmas is coming"—those items come from a designated budget.

Why is this important?

Without those leftovers, when emergencies strike, the problem isn’t just medical, it’s a financial burden.

But more than that—
We don't save out of fear of the future, but to prepare for the future.
I know, I've told you before, "live in the moment," "take the next step," "don't borrow tomorrow's strength for today's worries."
But that doesn't mean we use up all our resources without thought of tomorrow.
Think of it as saving our blessings.
When people have leftovers, they are able to give to others.
We save so we can give.

Proverbs speaks a lot about how the rich man is able to give to the poor.
Most charity organizations exist because rich people give generously.
We can’t give generously, when we have no leftovers.

The last two years have shown us store shelves do not stay filled when supply can’t bring them. 
The supply is there.
But not where you need them.
This happened in Russia.
They had food.
But their people were starving.

We see this in a mild way when a storm is coming.
Bread, eggs, and milk shelves are empty.
We all hunker down to stay at home.

We are not stockpiling out of fear of what they are doing.
We are collecting leftovers.

Leftovers of blessings are necessary to stock up for the lean years.
We’ve had the blessings.
Joseph was told in a vision lean years were coming.
We have it in our history.
We’ve also been shown in the Bible, when the people were given much, they gave much when it was needed.

Ask God what to do with your leftovers.
We've talked a lot about prayer.
He's answered that prayer for me.

What if you don’t have leftovers?
Evaluate your expenses.
Bear down.
Is everything absolutely necessary?
Maybe your priorities are not quite right.

God still answers our pitiful pleas for food for today
In a famine, Elisha stayed at the brook and was fed by ravens.
Then fed by a widow who had no oil.
God provided.
Other times, He told them to prepare ahead.
We have been warned that troubled times are ahead.
Use those left-overs for the lean years.

What can those leftover do?
With Joseph, they fed the world.
What can yours do?

Displaying 1 comment

We struggled so many times over the years and were blessed by others reaching out to us. One thing I've always wanted to be able to do more of is give to others and now that I'm married again, there is leftovers to give away. I love that feeling of being blessed by blessing others.

I write about what you---
women, wives and moms---
about your family, faith and future.
I write about what's hard, what helps and what heals.
I show you how it's done. And not done.
I hold your hand as you find what matters to the Savior.
And let go of those things that mattered to you, but not to Him.
I write about what Him.
               Sonya Contreras

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Author of Biblical fiction, married to my best friend, and challenged by eight sons’ growing pains as I write about what matters.

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