This morning, as I was cutting up a pineapple for us to eat today before it went bad, I started to consider the leftovers in the fridge that needed to be thrown out and the leftovers I had thrown out earlier this week. Such a waste! Such poor stewardship! I started adding up in my head how much money was quite literally going in the trash. I couldn't help but think about how that money could have been used to feed other people. For $38 a child can be fed for a month through Compassion. I'll have thrown out about $10 of food this week alone.
Then the Parable of the Bags of Gold came to mind.
14 “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. 15 To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16 The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more.17 So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. 18 But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.
19 “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them.20 The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’
21 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
22 “The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’
23 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
24 “Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’
26 “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27 Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.
28 “‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. 29 For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
There are so many ways to waste His money besides just throwing food away. He promises to provide for all of our needs, and I don't believe He minds when we spend time together building relationships and enjoying ourselves, but when we live outside of our means and start living on debt, we waste away His money with the interest we pay. Blowing money on yet ANOTHER "toy" is a waste as well. A smartphone is an absolute NEED because a basic flip phone isn't good enough, right? And apparently, for a teenager, that $200 phone with the $70 a month phone plan is something they can't live without ...
But where is His "return on investment" in all of these things? So often we say that we wish we had more to give, all the while finding it so tempting to waste so much. It must the "flesh and blood" thing and the "need and want" thing.
So here is the challenge I am taking: Each time I find myself throwing food out, I am going to take the time to add up the cost of that food. Then each week I am going to remove it from my grocery budget and put it in a jar for His work. If the next week I still throw food away, I will start removing that additional amount of money from my budget as well until there is no more food waste.
I am excited to see how much work can be done for His glory through this simple act of waste cutting! I may not see the "interest" until I one day kneel at His feet, but it excites me just the same!