Helen Palit, a silver-haired activist, founded the non-profit City Harvest in New York City. And over 2,500 donors willingly give mountains of leftover food that the organization distributes to those in need throughout the five boroughs of New York City. City Harvest has collected and distributed over 700 million pounds of food since it was founded in December 1982.
Leftover food is a perfect illustration of the abundance of blessings poured out upon mankind by our generous, creator God! Scripture is filled with references to the fact that God gives without limit in order that His blessings might become an invitation for all the world to “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8).
Do you live your life continually aware of the abundance that God provides? Through the prophet Malachi, God challenged Israel to test Him and see if He would not “open for [them] the windows of heaven and pour out for [them] such blessing that there [would] not be room enough to receive it” (Malachi 3:10). Jesus might have had this image in mind when He talked about the result of our living righteously before God: “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you” (Luke 6:38).
Jesus also said that He came “that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). The psalmist says that God owns the cattle on a thousand hills (Psalm 50:10), and the apostle Paul wrote that God “is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us” (Ephesians 3:20).
Even in nature we see an abundance of leftovers. It only takes one seed to grow the plant from which we harvest food, yet God provides many more seeds—leftovers, if you will—by which many more plants can be started. There is no end to the abundance of leftover blessings that come from God’s hand.
Distributing the Leftovers
I wonder if Christians are doing as good a job distributing our leftover spiritual blessings as City Harvest is in delivering leftover food. As important as food and materials are, Christians have the ultimate kind of leftover blessings: spiritual blessings that can change a person’s life for all eternity! We are the spiritually rich on this earth, and it is up to us to share our leftovers with the spiritually hungry around us.
First of all, we have been blessed with a knowledge of the “width and length and depth and height” of the love of Christ (Ephesians 3:18-19). We have been shown love and forgiveness and grace that knows no bounds—an infinite supply upon which we draw every day. There is the infinite person of the Holy Spirit of God dwelling in our heart who is ready and waiting to pour out the love, forgiveness, and grace of God on others—if we will only give Him that opportunity as He ministers to them through us.
But second, there are more leftover blessings than just the spiritual kind. I daresay that in many of our homes are Christian resources upon which we have feasted, but from which we no longer eat. Not to mention clothes, shoes, household goods—you get the idea—that represent leftovers in our life. We may have finished them as a meal, but they are still perfectly fit for others to receive in the name of Christ.
Leftover Bread and Leftover Bread of Life
By all means we should meet the needs of those around us with our leftover food and goods—bread for life is a necessity. But should we not also be as diligent to share the overflow of the Bread of Life we have received? Whether we fill up a container with leftovers at a restaurant and hand it to a hungry soul or deliver boxes of leftover Christian resources to the spiritually hungry, we need to solve our “take-home dilemma”: All of us have more than we need.
It is up to us to take the overflow, especially our spiritual leftovers, and distribute them to those in need. The Living Water and Bread of Life we possess are more than enough for all the world—if we will take it to them.
Dr. Jeremiah is the founder and host of Turning Point for God and senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, California. For more information on Turning Point, go to www.DavidJeremiah.org.
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