By Lisa Huddleston


Doggy BagI love mid-week dinners, because we usually have some leftovers in the refrigerator, and I do not have to cook. It’s great! And such is the case tonight. When Chuck gets home from another long day of work, he will have his choice—as long as his choice is either chili or lasagna. Yes, I’m a big fan of leftovers!


And leftovers is exactly what struck me in this past Sunday’s sermon from Ruth 2. This is the chapter in which Ruth goes out to glean in Boaz’s field, and he serves her dinner. The air is thick with tension and mounting romance—as well as a special doggy bag to take home.


At mealtime Boaz told her, “Come over here and have some bread and dip it in the vinegar sauce.” So she sat beside the harvesters, and he offered her roasted grain. She ate and was satisfied and had some left overs. (v. 14)


I don’t know about you, but we Huddlestons always get a doggy bag when we have leftovers at a restaurant. Unfortunately, I usually accidentally leave it on the table or in my car and rarely get to enjoy them. But Ruth managed to make it home with her leftovers, and “she brought out what she had left over from her meal and gave it to [Naomi.]” (v. 18)


And all that thinking about leftovers reminded me of the many, many ways I have been blessed with more than I need. We have a house that used to shelter a family of five and now there could be only two of us to rattle around in it. Chuck has managed to work hard and consistently for many years to provide us with many material goods—lots of which has made its way to the basement over the years. And on and on. We are most certainly well-blessed.


And, I suppose, it would be okay for us to just sit on what we have—after all, God has given these things to us—but it definitely would not be the best way to live. I mean, we’ve all seen episodes of “Hoarders” on TV. It can get pretty gross if we keep everything we get.


No, I think Ruth really sets us a good example by what she does with her leftovers. She takes them and gives them to someone who has not. In this case, it’s her sure-to-be-hungry mother-in-law. And isn’t that what we all should do with our abundance?


Have a too-big house? Open it up to someone who needs a place to live. Have unused furniture in your basement? Give it to a young family who’s just starting out. Get a bonus for Christmas? Look around and see with whom God wants you to share it. Ruth knew those leftovers were not for her, and we can know the same thing if we’ll take the time to ask God where He wants it to go.


Yes, I love leftovers … I think I’ll choose lasagna tonight. No, maybe the chili. No, definitely lasagna. Or maybe I just have some of both.


Either way, I’m thankful for God’s provision—for and through ALL OF US!


My granddog enjoying the simple life in her new house.

My granddog enjoying the simple life in her new house.

By Lisa Huddleston

My daughter and son-in-law moved into their first real house yesterday. Naturally, they and all who love them were very excited about it! We all could picture the sweet little place picture perfect with its white picket fence and brightly colored zinnias growing along the borders. Serene and peaceful.

But let’s face it–moving is hard! Your body gets tired, your emotions get strained, and your nose clogs up from breathing too much dust that has collected on  the too much stuff that takes almost all of us too little time to accumulate. Oh my goodness. So much stuff.

And here’s where it gets personal. Sarah and John have only been married for about a year and a half; Chuck and I have had a home for almost 30 years! Can you imagine what it would take to move us? Ugh. It literally unsettles me to the core of my bones to consider. That horrible load of stuff that has crawled bits and pieces into the corners of the closets, the attic, and–I can’t even bear to consider–the basement where all sorts of detritus of this life of ours has gathered.

It is convicting. It is disgusting. It is gluttonous. It has got to go.

And it is going. As each child has moved out, they have scooped up old couches, beds, dressers, and enough dishes to set up housekeeping. And while I have deeply grieved the child, I have rejoiced over the loss of the stuff.

Soon our youngest will be moving from a dorm to a “home” of his own and with him will go more stuff. Then we will begin in earnest to shed the gluttony of our past, and even now we have begun the process. Sorting and categorizing. This to the dump. This to Goodwill or the Help Center or the Habitat store. This for Nick. And before something new comes in, something old must leave.

Truth. If we haven’t used it in years, we never will. And to keep what others need when you do not is a sin. Like stealing. It simply is.

Yesterday reminded me. The more I own, the larger my burden. Help me, Lord, to simplify. Less of me, less of this world, and more of you.

“My practices change over time, but the goal is consistent: to learn to live a happy, useful life on this earth without using up an unnecessary share of its goods.” Barbara Kingsolver