I have a problem. It’s an irritation that was built in the early years of life. My mom never threw any food out. Never. Left-overs. Left-overs. Left-overs. She would cook a meal and we would eat the meal with left-overs coming on the next meals until they were gone. She taught me the value of eating all the food that had been prepared, even if it meant that the liver and onions would be eaten the next time that I was hungry.
It caused me to never throw any food out as I grew into an adult and started cooking for myself. I hate to see food thrown out. A problem had arisen in the last few years where most foods have an expiration date. With the mindset I was taught, I have never looked at the dates because I don’t throw out food. Never. Unfortunately I am living with a new generation where those dates are very important and are abided by. It kills me that my kids and my wife look with reverence to those dates and don’t budge on disposing of food that has moved past the expiration date.
The other day, I had the same feeling as I was observing the chick-a-dees feeding at my bird feeder in Flagstaff. These birds are so hungry that oftentimes there are 3-4 at a time on different rungs of the feeder. In their frantic nature to get the seeds, there is spillage on the ground that seem to be wasted.
It was an irritant to me until I looked on the ground yesterday afternoon in the rain and observed the picture below. What seemed to be spillage and wastefulness turned out to be birds on the ground rummaging through the pine needles and leaves searching for the dropped seeds to eat. No spillage. No wasted food. All gone.
This picture reminds me of the passage in Matthew 6:19-34 where Jesus is talking about worrying. He says that we shouldn’t worry and compares our needs and issues with that of the birds. He says, “The birds don’t sow nor reap nor gather into the barns, yet your heavenly father feeds them. . .I was somewhat concerned about the spillage of the seed, and didn’t realize that God was in the process of taking care of the spillage.
How often do we become frustrated over spillage in our lives and never see beyond the spillage to what is going on behind or under the spillage we are focusing on. If only we saw beyond the problems and irritants to see a bigger picture. Maybe our worry and concern would melt away.
On this journey there are going to be times of spillage that can be turned into opportunities for new perspectives if only we open our eyes to those perspectives.