We have this restaurant that we really like going to for special occasions. It's not fancy but their food is really good quality.
We had mentioned to our children one day how we like it because everything there is 'made from scratch' which is how we like to cook.
Upon repeating part of the conversation a week or so later one of our kids very earnestly said, "Oh it's because everything there is 'made from scraps'!"
We all had a good laugh.
The last few weeks have been busy. Good busy! We've had wonderful friends visiting, dance concerts, graduations, food to be baked for class parties and thank you gifts, plus the normal activities, work and Thai study etc.
Sometimes I wonder, despite wanting my life to reflect the quality of a wonderful healthy meal made from scratch, how upon closer examination, it can sometimes resemble a bit of a mess - more like a meal made from scraps!
Scraps of time, half finished conversations, unfinished prayers, incomplete jobs, emails sitting in the draft folder... anyone else?
And whilst I don't want God and my family to just 'get my leftovers' at the end of the day, the small fragments of time that might be left, the scraps after everything else has been used up is sometimes all I feel like I have to offer.
I was challenged recently when I read this on Today:
God is our greatest authority. We wouldn’t give our earthly authorities our scraps. Yet so often we offer God the leftover portions of our time, money, energy, thought, and emotion. He gets the scraps and rejects—just as the Israelites were offering the worst of their animals in sacrifice.
It must have been a burden to care for a blind or lame animal. The temptation to sacrifice such an animal would be very real. Wouldn’t a blind or lame animal suit God’s purposes just as well as any other animal?
We face a similar temptation. We pray with the five extra minutes we might have and aren’t sure what else we can do with that time. We help with a service project on a Saturday that is “free” on our calendar. We’re happy to tithe as long as we have some disposable income. We read that deep religious book if we’re in between novels.
We have to admit, though, that extras aren’t really sacrifices. When we willingly sacrifice time, money, or energy that have value to us, it settles the greater value of God into our hearts and minds. God sacrificed his only Son for us. Certainly he is far more worthy of our best than any earthly authority.
Jason Smith, personal friend, founder of Back In Motion Health Group and physiotherapist is also a long time supporter of our family and ZOE's work. Upon his recent visit to Thailand he challenged the Thai staff and foreign volunteers at our staff meeting to keep asking smart questions.
Jason told us that a study showed the average 4-year-old British girl asks her mother about 390 questions a day. By the time we are adults though the number of questions most of us ask per day has dwindled incredibly.
And so I begin by challenging myself this week:
How do I show God that He is number 1 in my life?
What's getting in the way of focussing on God?
How am I showing my family that I love them?
Are they receiving my sacrifices of 'love' or do I need to find alternative ways to reach their hearts?
I know that God and my family are worth more than my scraps, how about you? What questions do you need to ask yourself this week?