These were Jesus’ words after He had just fed the five thousand in John 6. He had done His work, given thanks for it, others had benefited and now it was time to finish it right. Verse 12 says, “When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.”
Last summer I taught each of our children, at the time ages 10, 13 and 16, how to wash and take care of their own clothes. They are basically on their own. Greg and I also started giving them a certain amount of money in the fall, along with a list of what they were to purchase, in an effort to teach them how to handle money responsibly. It has been a great way to teach them about how to find a bargain. It was so fun this summer when Zach called me from T.J. Maxx and had found two pairs of shorts and three t-shirts for under $50! (He later discovered online that the t-shirt he found was going for $50!)The draw back to this method is I no longer have a true grid for what is in their closet (unless, of course, I take the time to look!)
Monday was Mariah’s birthday, so I thought it might be fun if this year we all headed to the outlet mall together to do our back to school shopping. They each found some jeans, some Appalachian State shirts and other “up-to-date” duds. We came home, showing Greg our purchases with smiles on our faces. Later, Greg asked, “So, how much did you spend today?” It was then that it occurred to me, I didn’t really know. I know we were buying what was on sale, but did I buy what they needed? Was it all really necessary?
I suspect I am not the only parent in America who gets caught up in the excitement of the back to school rush. I was convicted yesterday that I am guilty of waste. Unlike Jesus, I have not said to myself and my family, “let nothing be wasted”. I started thinking about all of the “stuff” that my family has that we don’t need (nor do we need to purchase more!). I went up to my attic and pulled down 6 bags of homeschooling books that I need to take to the consignment shop. My kids pulled out clothes that I need to take to Plato’s Closet. I have a flute I put on Craig’s List…the list could go on and on.
For me, it is not just a matter of getting rid of what we no longer need, but asking the question, “Do I really need what I am getting ready to purchase? Is the Lord happy with the decisions I make and would He agree that I am not wasting the resources He has given me?”
At a time when our country is in a slump in its economy, it is a good time to reflect on our habits. Lord, help us each day, when surrounded with such plenty to not be wasteful and to glorify You with all You have given to us.
(And now, I am off to the consignment shop!)