Why cook twice when you can cook once? That has been my mantra the whole of my married life. By cooking a double batch of chicken breast, ground chuck or pot roast and freezing the second portion, I have been able to stretch my time to care for four children, husband, business, home work and church. Chicken breast cooked today is enjoyed with BBQ sauce and again tomorrow as chicken tacos. A roast on Wednesday can also be served over egg noodles with brown gravy on Thursday. This is not left-over’s, which we usually enjoy in lunches, this is smart planning.
The difference between smart planning and left over’s is a simple one, but with complex results. One relies on choice, the other on chance. Smart Planning (SP) involves making a conscious decision, ensuring the proper amounts prepared and set aside. SP ensures there is enough for the need. Left-over’s (LO) are merely the excess from today’s provision. The little more than we needed bits we can scrape into small containers. Not enough for the full need of tomorrows dinner. LO’s are great for lunches, snacks and munching. But they are not enough to fill the hungry belly’s of tomorrow nights need.
What if you helped out a person who had been released from prison, employed them, paid them well, provided for their every need, offered protection for their children, gave to them generously. How would you feel if invited to dinner, and called an honored guest, welcomed into the home of your host, who has plenty, then sat down to a table that had only enough food for half a dinner?
There you are, hungry, in need of nourishment, and you sit at the table surrounded by your family and the host family, with two chicken legs, three servings of carrots, one dinner roll and enough mashed potatoes for two people. How would you feel, to hear your host say, “So very glad you are here, you mean so much to us”. Would you feel honored, would you feel appreciated? Pause for a moment to consider your feelings.
I wonder if that is how our heavenly Father feels. He who provides the very air we breathe, gives us strength to face the day, gifted us with the family we love and rescued us from the prison of sin. I wonder if we approach him with our left over’s of time, talent, finances and devotion and expect him to feel honored. If we do not prepare, set aside, schedule and budget these things, then we are crowning him Lord Of The Left Over’s.
The wise manager will set aside FIRST the most important needs, so should we. If we are giving God precious few, cram-it-in moments and offering it up as our prayer time, we do Him and ourselves disrespect. If we scratch through our pockets, wallets and purses for our left over bills and change when offering time comes, we cheapen the value of His blessings. If we give begrudgingly of our time in service to His kingdom, if we neglect the orphan, widow and the needy, if we hold grudges against others while enjoying forgiveness ourselves are we not wiping our feet on Gods grace?
Luke 12:48 states that “Great gifts mean great responsibilities, greater gifts, greater responsibilities” (The Message). Ask yourself these questions when filling out your calendar and budget. What do I owe God? How can I give back to reflect my debt of gratitude and show my appreciation? Fill in those blanks first, then live on the rest. Let the first, and best, be set aside for what matters most.
Labels: budgeting, finances, gratitude, offerings