“That Nothing Be Lost”

We are urged to be economy-conscious. President Ford appeals to all Americans to cooperate with him in promoting economy. He appeals to Congress to cooperate, he appeals to business, to industry, to families, and to the individual. This appeal we may not ignore. Let me, in this article, apply the principle of economy in just one area.

During this Thanksgiving season we do well to show our gratitude to God by letting nothing be lost of the abundance we enjoy. Our tables will be attractively laden with food, but let everyone be careful how much he puts on his plate so that nothing be lost. Let also the children be advised consciously to observe this. They must be taught to clean their plates. Let every one only take what he can eat and no more. If one misjudges, let him determine to eat later what he cannot eat now. Those mothers who deprive their children of dessert if they don’t clean their plate first, have more wisdom than many practice.

That the Lord gives us more than we can eat does not justify waste. Jesus taught us that principle. Think of His feeding of the five thousand. After giving thanks “He distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would. When they were filled, he said to His disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost” (John 6:11–12). Hadn’t the five loaves and two fishes gone far enough to meet human needs? Why, then, save any of it, since all the people present were filled? Mind you, “they ate as much as they would they were filled!” Jesus didn‘t say that since this miracle had physically benefited everyone present, the disciples could forget about the left-overs. Rather, he commanded them to “gather lip the fragments that nothing be lost.” Jesus here forbids that the more-than-enough be wasted. “Gather up the fragments that nothing be lost.” That means gather up the leftovers.

This principle of economy cries out for attention in our day. The world situation demands it. Christ teaches it.

Has it ever occurred to you that God watches our garbage cans? How much goes into these receptacles that should have been put to use? Can‘t families, restaurants, hospitals, schools, institutions for young or old do more to reduce waste?

I repeat, this is the season of the year when we as a nation observe Thanksgiving Day. How grateful we should be for the Lord’s rich provisions! Our tables will be covered with the best of food. Let one of the ways we show our gratitude to God be that we put on our plates only what we can eat and that we make sure the left-overs are neither wasted nor despised. God gave it: we may not waste it. Careless waste of what God gives is not befitting one who is grateful for what the Lord has given. If it is your style to leave a bit of good food on your plate, forget the style and practice this biblical principle. When styles conflict with biblical principles, throw them out of the window! If we are really thankful to God we should show it by using properly that for which we are thankful. Jesus gave thanks, distributed the food, and multiplied it as He handed it to His disciples. When all were satisfied Jesus said, “Gather up the fragments that nothing be lost.”

P.S. Dear ladies, we are urged to save more and buy less. We are to work at conserving gas, electricity, food, paper, clothing etc. All of us should be willing in our own way to cooperate in this program of conservation. Every bit of economizing lends its mite to this goal of winning the fight against inflation and shortages.

Now I have a suggestion. Our women societies are in full swing. Many of them serve refreshments during the social hour. I must confess that I like that. The fact that r like it, is not now the issue. The question arises in my mind, couldnt we cooperate with President Ford‘s program by having only a cup of coHee and eliminating the snack? There would even be a bonus for doing that. Just think! The bonus would include a sense of patriotism, a willingness to sacrifice, fewer calories, and even less work.

Perhaps you ask, why even have coffee? We do seem to need a cup of something to promote sociability. A cup of coffee keeps us together for the fellowship we need. Granted, even too much coffee goes down the drain. Dat is toch schande! To prevent even this waste, why not limit everyone to one cup a really full cup—and hot! Every mite helps. “Die ‘t kleine niet eert, is t groote niet weert.” (He who does not honor the small, is not worthy of the great.)

It‘s a thought. Who will defend it? “Let your fair wisdom, not your passions sway.”

Johanna Timmer, editor of “Reformed Women Speak” lives in Holland, Michigan.