One man’s trash

“But Jesus said to her, ‘Let the children be filled first, for it is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.’ And she answered and said to him, ‘Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs under the table eat from the children’s crumbs'” (Mark 7:27-28, NKJV).

Khulna Bible College replaced an outside cooking shelter because the tin was rusted and full of holes so that it leaked to the point of making it difficult to keep the wood fires going as they cooked in rainy weather. Members of a local congregation saw the pile of discarded metal and asked if they could have it to build a meeting place in which to worship. As a church building, it is much less than perfect but certainly better than nothing.

One of the most difficult virtues to obtain is contentment. James taught about the vicious cycle of desire and sin:

Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures” (James 4:1-3).

In contrast to that very human tendency, a Gentile woman from Syro-Phoenicia showed a willingness to settle for the very crumbs of God’s blessings. When Jesus stated that he was not there to help the Gentiles, but had come to minister among the Jews, she asked only for what might fall from his table. Such faith impressed the Lord and he gladly granted her wish.

A friend told of having an offered tip refused by a waiter who demanded a higher percentage of the bill. Originally conceived as a voluntary gift in response to good service, “gratuities” are now viewed as the server’s rightful due. Frequently gratitude for them is no longer felt, much less expressed to the giver.

The fact is that most of us can survive and prosper on much less than we want. A less expensive car or home or wardrobe would serve us adequately, yet we set our hopes and aspirations on things of greater cost than we can easily afford. The inability to live at a higher standard creates discontent. Discontent often leads to envy, covetousness, and other sins.

How much happier we will be if we can only learn, like Paul, to be content in whatever conditions we find ourselves (Philippians 4:11). Whether hungry or filled, in abundance or want, the Apostle was satisfied and comforted, knowing that he was within the shelter of God’s love. Let us seek always to do God’s will and leave to him the task of providing for our needs (Matthew 6:33).

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