CrossReads Weekly Devotional: Waste Not, Want Not 2/22/2021

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by Ruth O’Neil

Today’s shout out is to my mom. I was blessed to have her in my life for only 21 years, but those years were full of lifelong lessons. One of those lessons was “waste not, want not.” That applied to everything. I’ve tried to keep that a motto for many things in my life; including my fabric scrap piles and food. I save the tiniest bits of fabric, which will eventually get cut and sewn into some pretty amazing quilts. I even save scraps of food most people throw away to make something new, such as apply cores and skins make pretty good apple jelly, bread crusts and stale bread are repurposed as bread crumbs and stuffing, the ends of onions, celery, and carrot skins are simmered to make a homemade vegetable broth. Waste not, want not, right? Because of my waste not, want not food attitude, I always have plenty for my family and others. 

Over the years I’ve realized, though, that I often waste one of my most valuable commodities: time. I’m not usually one whos bored since I normally have too many irons in the fire anyway, but I can see plenty of places where my time would have been put to better use. I’m not saying that relaxation is never called for, but we all know we can be time wasters.  

I think we do that the most when we are faced with downtime. Maybe you lost your job. Maybe an accident is keeping you at home. Maybe the illness of a family member has you constantly by their side. There are any number of reasons we may be looking straight into the face of boredom because all the usual things we do, we suddenly can’t. 

When you are faced with downtime, what do you spend that time doing? Are you using that time wisely? When things come up in our lives, we could spend our time bickering and complaining or we could think of things we could do for others. If we stop focusing on ourselves, we can see so many around us who are hurting and need to see the love of God in action. 

The Bible tells us, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 NIV). 

Take a few minutes today to sit down and create a list of ideas you can do during a forced downtime. Does anyone come to mind who would enjoy seeing a handwritten note from you in the mail? Has someone been on your heart lately that you need to call and check up on? Can you fix a meal for a needy family? Bake cookies for a friend? Do some yard work for a neighbor?

About the Author:

Ruth OneilRuth O’Neil has been writing for over 20 years. She has published hundreds of articles in numerous publications. She loves to touch the emotions when she writes. “If I can make one person laugh or cry, I’ll consider myself successful.” Her first novel “Come Eat at My Table” has just come out in ebook form and can be purchased on her website. She homeschools her three children (well, one now, as two have graduated). She and her husband have been married for 20-plus years. In her spare time she enjoys quilting, crafting, and reading. You can visit her on her blog at ruths-real-life (dot) or her website at ruthoneil (dot)

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