So, I was thinking the other day, which is often dangerous and always a miracle, about a meal I had. It was at a church we go to on Wednesdays and Sunday evenings as we do a home fellowship on Sunday mornings. We had a dinner theater there on a weekend where the youth did skits to deliver the Gospel, and Wednesday, we ate the leftovers. It got me to thinking. What are leftovers? There are lots of things that refers to like leftover cars on a sales lot, books nobody wants to read, food, and sometimes it applies to other things in our life; like when I was in school, and I was one of the leftovers after everyone got done picking teams. Yeah, that stunk, but, itís all good, no scars remain from that. Imagine how food would feel though because, quite frankly, sometimes it gets forgotten about for a while, though sometimes itís picked back up the very next day. Well, itís a good thing food doesnít have feelings. Thatís actually a random and somewhat sickening thought Mike!
My Dad was in the Air Force, and we moved a lot, and for 3 years, we lived in Italy where I went through 1st to 3rd grade. It was at that time, I first remember being introduced to leftovers. Did I have them before then? Iím sure I did, but as a kid, I never paid any attention to what my parents were making in the kitchen, I just ate it. It was on a Sunday night and me and my sister were told we were going to the church that evening, for a pot-luck dinner. Wow! Pot-luck? That sounded great. Pot-luck, I sure want me some of that. Now the church was near the air-base, some 15-20 miles from the village we lived in. Okay, enough with the village idiot comments already. Anyhow, the whole ride Iím sitting there just dreaming about some of that pot-luck stuff, I canít wait. I have no clue why I never asked them what it was to begin with, but it was at church, so it had to be good. Later in life, I would find that pot-luck used to mean, look in the pot, and if anything is in it, youíre in luck. When we got to church, the smell of food was all over the place, and I can remember sitting there waiting the whole time to go back and eat, the suspense was killing me. When we finally went back there and I saw all the food set-up, I noticed something. A lot of the food was stuff I recognized from the church-wide supper a few days before and some was still being pulled from the fridge. By the way, microwaves werenít around then. So then I thought, OhÖTHATíS pot-luck. Nah, itís leftovers, and I ate them regardless.
The thing I have found with leftovers is some people eat them, yet I know people who wonít touch them. In the trash the food goes at the end of a meal. Me? Well, leftovers are great! Nothing like cold chicken, cold spaghetti, and even cold pizza. Kelly thinks Iím crazy with cold food though, as she likes to have the food hot. Usually somewhere around 3000 degrees fahrenheit so that when I eat it, I feel like I am swallowing the sun; and if I wait too long to get to the table and it drops two or three degrees, But sometimes, the leftovers get forgotten and itís usually a foul odor, like the skunk that has been laying in the highway for two days in the sun, that reminds you of the pork chops from a month ago hidden behind a pickle jar. All is well until you open the fridge and then you see that it has become something along the lines of a science project with stuff growing on it and all. Immediately it is yanked and goes in the trash. Well, this applies to us. Let me ask you, are you holding on to leftovers? Letís look at a passageÖ
14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Jesus had just finished praying the Lordís prayer and went straight into a subject we often overlook. Forgiveness. We expect it, but often, we donít give it. Sometimes itís because we feel so hurt. Other times, we donít think they forgive us, so why forgive them? Thereís a ton of excuses, so we just bottle that up inside and leave it there, itís leftovers. And you know what? To God, it stinks before you ever put it in your heart to start rotting. And according to Jesus, youíre going to have a lot of trashy sin building up within you until you finally forgive whoever this person is, because God is not forgiving you until you forgive others. Jesus gave His life, so you could get forgiveness. Not a single one of us ever has or ever will deserve that. Itís is solely by Godís grace and mercy that is provided. Seeing how it is such a wonderful gift, why canít we use it? Yeah, itís easy to love and forgive those who do the same for you, but Christ died for us while we still hated Him. He died for a world that still hates Him. Jesus said to love only those who love you back is nothing, real love, is to love those who despise you. You have to be able to forgive, to have that same mercy and grace which is spared to you, in order to be forgiven.
So whatís locked inside you? What leftovers do you have? Why are you hanging on to it? When the leftovers rot in a fridge and start stinking, the odor takes over the whole refrigerator, and it even can start making the other food smell bad. Whatís worse is that when itís opened up, it affects what is around it in the house by giving off that stench. This is the same with us. The leftovers inside have a stench that affects the rest of our body in how we act, speak, etc even when we donít realize it. That transposes into life, such that the light of Jesus canít shine through us because of those nasty rotten leftovers that everybody catches wind of. Itís actually very serious folks. Look what Jesus says hereÖ
23 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;
24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.
Itís so serious, that God wants nothing from you until you handle your business with your brother. Thatís serious stuff. And while some may say things like ďHeís no good, heíll never change, and heís not worth me making things rightĒÖwhat if Jesus had felt that way about you? Open up the fridge, and get rid of the leftovers.
In His Grace,
Mike Harris Jr.
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