Have you ever considered how much food goes to waste after a conference or special event that is catered? Helen Palit, a silver-haired activist who founded and runs the non-profit Angel Harvest in Los Angeles did and went into action. Like the legendary Robin Hood of old, she takes from the rich and gives to the poor. Actually, she receives from the rich—they willingly give to her mountains of leftover food—and she distributes it to those in need.
Because Angel Harvest operates in one of the most ostentatious mini-cultures in the world—Hollywood—the parties are nonstop and over the top including the GRAMMY and EMMY celebrations, OSCARS Governor’s ball, and more. But Palit’s deliveries don’t come just from ritzy parties in Hollywood. She gets calls daily to pick up leftovers from weddings, conventions, business meetings, bar mitzvahs, and political conventions. She works seven days a week picking up and delivering leftovers to fifty-one different soup kitchens, food pantries, shelters, and senior programs in L.A.
Do you live your life continually aware of the abundance that God provides? Through the prophet Malachi, God challenged Israel to test Him and see if He would not “open for [them] the windows of heaven and pour out for [them] such blessing that there [would] not be room enough to receive it” (Malachi 3:10). Jesus might have had this image in mind when He talked about the result of our living righteously before God: “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you” (Luke 6:38).
Jesus also said that He came “that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). And it was Jesus who stood up at the Feast of Tabernacles and talked about “rivers of living water” that are available by the Spirit to all who believe in Him (John 7:38).
Even in nature we see an abundance of leftovers. It only takes one seed to grow the plant from which we harvest food, yet God provides many more seeds—leftovers, if you will—by which many more plants can be started. There is no end to the abundance of leftover blessings that come from God’s hand.
Distributing the Leftovers
As important as food and materials are, Christians have the ultimate kind of leftover blessings: spiritual blessings that can change a person’s life for all eternity! We are the spiritually rich on this earth, and it is up to us to share our leftovers with the spiritually hungry around us.
First of all, we have been shown love and forgiveness and grace that knows no bounds—an infinite supply upon which we draw every day. But second, there are more leftover blessings than just the spiritual kind. I imagine there are literally hundreds of Bibles, books, CDs, DVDs, magazines, and other Christian resources upon which you have feasted, but from which you no longer eat. Not to mention clothes, shoes, household goods—you get the idea—that represent leftovers in your life. You may have finished them as a meal, but they are still perfectly fit for others to receive in the name of Christ.
Leftover Bread and Leftover Bread of Life
By all means we should meet the needs of those around us with our leftover foods and goods—bread for life is a necessity. But should we not also be as diligent to share the overflow of the Bread of Life we have received? Whether we fill up a Styrofoam container with leftovers at a restaurant and hand it to a hungry soul, or deliver boxes of leftover Christian resources to the spiritually hungry, we need to solve our “take-home dilemma”: All of us have more than we need.
It is up to us to take the overflow, especially our spiritual blessings, and distribute them to those in need. The Living Water and Bread of Life we possess are more than enough for all the world—if we will take it to them.
Dr. Jeremiah is the founder of Turning Point for God, and serves as Senior Pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, California. For more information about Turning Point go to www.DavidJeremiah.org