What are we going to eat? I wonder how many times that question is asked each day. Another question we may ask is “Where are we going to eat.” When my generation was growing up, Mama said, “Time to eat” and we headed to the dining room, but now Mama says “Time to eat,” and we head to the car. We have become a society that eats out about as much as we dine at home, but we have now entered into the eat-at-home zone. We have just finished perhaps the biggest eating holiday of the year – Thanksgiving. In a few weeks we will have the second biggest one with Christmas. Then, a week later we have New-Year’s Day. That one brings huge bowls of black-eyed peas and greens. All those meals are usually cooked and eaten and home. Between Thanksgiving and the New Year, many of us find ourselves living in the land of the leftovers.

I don’t know about at your house, but at mine, we always cook far more than we need or can eat…at least on the first attempt. Mama used to say that we had enough food to feed Pharaoh’s army. I never saw Pharaoh’s army, so I’ve never seen how much they ate, but according to Mama, they must have been big eaters. I’m sure they worked up quite an appetite chasing after the Children of Israel, but after that experience in the Red Sea, there was no more feeding Pharaoh’s army!

How many times have you ever finished one of those feast meals and were so stuffed you could hardly crawl to the recliner to watch football, while you took a nap? How many times have you said, as you plopped down into your recliner, “I may never eat again?” Of course, you knew when you said it that you were lying, or at least just talking to hear yourself talk. Then, not long after you woke up from that nap, and after the Detroit Lions had lost again, you mutter, “I think I might want a little something to eat.” You drag all those platters, bowls, and snap-top containers out of the frig. Then you pile up another plate of stomach extenders and head for the microwave. Eating leftovers is so much easier since the invention of the microwave. I remember a few years ago the rumor circulated that food cooked, or even reheated, in a microwave could cause cancer. The convenience was so great, that scare didn’t even slow us down.

The problem with living in the land of the leftovers is that after a couple of days, we’re not saying, “I’m never going to eat again,” but “I don’t ever want to see cornbread dressing, or some of the other items still in the frig, again. By the Saturday after Thanksgiving, I usually say, “Do you know what I want for dinner?” Jean almost always answers, “Yes, a hamburger or a couple of Mrs. Story’s hot dogs!”

The good thing about leftovers is that they are convenient, and we don’t have to pay for them again. Are we ever guilty of giving God our leftovers? How about our family and loved ones? We may not give them the first serving, or our best, but when all else is said and done, we may be guilty of giving them what’s left. We only have so many hours in a day, or a week. Do we ever use those hours to do whatever we want, or even feel we need, and then if there’s any time left, well, you know?

— Bill King is a native of Rainsville, where he and his wife graduated from Plainview High School. King is a director of missions in Opelika, a writer, musician and author. His column appears in the Times-Journal Wednesday edition. Visit brobillybob.com for more information.

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