Growing up, the worst thing I could hear about dinner was that we were having leftovers. I know some people love leftovers, but I am not one of those people. The only time I really enjoy them is post Thanksgiving, and even then, there’s about a one-day window for me. After that, I just don’t want it. I’m not even good about eating food I bring home from a restaurant, because it’s never going to be as good as it used to be. It’ll be second rate at best.
You certainly wouldn’t want to eat leftovers for a special occasion, though some people do eat their wedding cake on their first anniversary (I did not, because I don’t even like fresh cake). Sarah and I recently celebrated our 15th anniversary, and though we had food leftover in the refrigerator, we did not eat it. We were on vacation with our sons, so we didn’t go sit down at a romantic dinner, but we did go celebrate (vacationing was part of that, in fact). We did not spend the day in silence, either. We spoke to each other throughout the day, we told each other that we love each other, we expressed how happy we were to be married to each other, and so on. Though we’ve said it all in the past, we continued to say it, because it remains true, active, and central to our lives.
Sadly, many Christians treat God to leftovers and settle for past expressions of love for Him. I’m included in that. I certainly have done that and do that from time to time. I don’t give Him my very best everyday, and sometimes the stories of my relationship with Him are past dated and stale, because I have nothing new to say. What I find is that when I a not actively investing in my relationship with Him, I still have stories to tell, but I have nothing new to say. I can always point back to last month, last year, some great time in my past when I’ve experienced Him. Of course, I can, because He is faithful, and His mercies are new every morning. And I do not think it’s wrong to speak to God’s faithfulness and presence over time; on the contrary, I think it’s good to recount how God has blessed us throughout our lives. But we should never be content in our spiritual life based on how we had experienced Him, how we had served Him, how we had sought Him. We should not be content with giving or receiving leftovers, when there is more to be given, more to be received, and more of Him to be experienced. Philippians 3:13-16 says:
“Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained.”
Let’s not hang our hats on what we’ve already done and already attained, but at the same time, we should hold onto the truth of what we have attained while we continue to press on in our walk with Christ. Don’t settle for leftovers. Keep pressing on, keep growing, keep seeking to experience full life in Christ, in every area of your life.