That Nothing Be Lost

It’s paradoxical that we’re approaching another celebration of freedom and the birth of our nation while many are sounding like the only freedom that matters is the freedom to avoid birth by brutally eliminating the life of the very ones about to be born. It is, indeed, a time when what it means to be free is being challenged in ways we never imagined, but it’s also a time when we can pause a moment and reflect on some things that might help inspire some hope. One of the ways to do that, oddly enough, might be to reflect on the spiritual implications of a practice I was introduced to in the early years of my life.  

A Family Principle ~
There was a principle around our house that seemed to touch everything in our lives, from the way we handled our money to leftover food. Whether it was a chicken drumstick or a piece of string, the rule was always, “
Don’t waste it.” Trying to get the most out of whatever we had was ingrained in us, and4th.1 the more valuable the resource or commodity involved, the more vital it was not to waste it. And by the way, it’s a practice that Jesus was also in favor of. The Gospel writers were careful to point it out in reference to the miraculous feeding of the multitudes.  John records it this way:

Then Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted. So when they were filled, He said to His disciples, “Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost.” (John 6:10–12 NKJV)

As the impact of inflation escalates and the shadow of an economic recession looms over us, looking for ways to conserve our resources and get the most out of what we have is becoming more than a philosophical approach. For many, if not most of us, it’s becoming a mandatory survival mechanism. Families don’t want to waste trips to town, more leftovers are getting recycled, and purchases are more likely to be preceded by the question, “Do I really need that?” For those not used to thinking like that, the adjustments can be especially challenging, but the end result can be beneficial in lots of ways, especially if we apply the same principles to how we handle our spiritual resources. 

Unacknowledged Resources ~
Our consumerist culture is used to discarding everything once we’re tired of it, or if it seems a bit worn, or something trendier has made an appearance. We throw away enough food to feed another nation and rarely think about it, but some of those patterns may be about to change – and I think Jesus would approve. I’m convinced that His concern about not wasting the uneaten fish and bread would extend to the other valuable resources He has allowed us to acquire. We may not tend to think about our spiritual capacities as resources God has given us and for which He will eventually hold us accountable, but it might be helpful to look at a few of them from that perspective.

Love, for instance, is one of those qualities we take for granted. We don’t consider where the capacity came from, what the term really means, or what it was intended to accomplish. We take a primary 4th.2characteristic of the God who created us and turn it into something perverted, depraved, and destructive. Love is the most powerful force for good outside of God Himself and we waste it. None of us wants to know how much time, energy, money, and other resources we have thrown away loving things God said not to love. A couple of directives stand out with profound clarity:

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (1 John 2:15 NKJV)

And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:30–31 NKJV)

Misdirected Trust ~
Faith is another God-given capacity with potential that exceeds anything we can imagine. Faith provides an access to a personal relationship with the Son of God and a life that will never end. Beyond that, faith opens doors to opportunities and accomplishments that would be impossible without it. Yet we tend to shy away from the kinds of things that generate and strengthen faith, like personal time absorbing truth in the Word of God and time invested in personal communion with the Father Himself. Instead we waste this incredible capacity by choosing to direct our capacity to trust and believe toward government agencies, TV personalities, self-proclaimed experts, or simply ourselves. Jesus repeatedly demonstrated that believing in Him could open doors to impossible things: 

Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” (Mark 9:23 NKJV)

When so many are feeling anxious and despondent, the amazing power of hope can be seen in ways that we might not otherwise notice. The application of hope can avert suicide. It can revitalize relationships, and it can re-energize bodies and minds that have given up. Hope can recapture the present and4th.3 transform the future, but not if it’s wasted on empty philosophies, phony assertions, and toxic ideas. Those who reject Jesus Christ and waste their capacity to hope on such things are left with no hope at all.

… that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. (Ephesians 2:12 NKJV)

Liberty — Not License ~
There are many other astounding resources that we must be careful not to waste, but in light of our nation’s Independence Day, we must not overlook
freedom itself. It’s a concept that has brought more peace, prosperity, genuine justice, and happiness into the world than any other approach to life. In spite of that, we are surrounded by multitudes of people who have wasted the idea by turning it into some kind of personal license to indulge their flesh in any way they choose. God’s idea of freedom is not permission to engage in any kind of behavior regardless of the consequences. It is an invitation to have life, liberty, and happiness within a righteous framework of protective principles authorized by the One who gave everything for our redemption. 

Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage (Galatians 5:1 NKJV)

 As we gather to celebrate our nation’s independence this July 4th and reflect on the multitude of benefits we’ve enjoyed as its citizens, may God help us to see them as priceless treasures not to be wasted. And may we endeavor to live them out as He intended so that they emerge afresh as the powerful source of good that they are.

Jesus saw the food that remained when the feast was over as strength and provision that hadn’t yet been applied. With freedoms, opportunities, and God-given rights being thrown away like yesterday’s leftovers, may God help us to realize that there is power we haven’t begun to apply. And may we all remember the love that provided what we didn’t deserve.  May our hearts be inflamed with an invincible determination to devote every resource we’ve been given to ensure that nothing be lost.


“TWEETABLES” ~ Click to tweet and share from the pull quotes below.  Each one links directly back to this article through Twitter . . .

    • “Love is one of those qualities we take for granted. We take a primary characteristic of the God who created us and turn it into something perverted, depraved, and destructive. Love is the most powerful force for good outside of God Himself and we waste it.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet) 
    • “Faith provides an access to a personal relationship with the Son of God and a life that will never end. Beyond that, faith opens doors to opportunities and accomplishments that would be impossible without it.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)  
    • “The application of hope can avert suicide, revitalize relationships and re-energize bodies and minds that gave up. It can recapture the present and transform the future if it’s not wasted on empty philosophies, phony assertions and toxic ideas.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)  
    • Freedom is a concept that has brought more peace, prosperity, genuine justice, and happiness into the world than any other approach to life. ” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
    • “God’s idea of freedom is not permission to engage in any kind of behavior regardless of the consequences. It is an invitation to have life, liberty, and happiness within a righteous framework of protective principles.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet) 

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About Ron Gallagher, Ed.S

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6 Responses to That Nothing Be Lost

  1. JD Wininger says:

    Apologies for my tardiness in reading, sharing, and responding my friend, I know you understand the business of hay season. Stacking small bale hay (well, 65 lbs. used to seem small to me) seems to take longer these days (15-20 bales, need a break to slow heartrate and get a breath, 15 bales, need a break, “why do the heaviest bales seem to come up when I need to stack above my head Lord”, 12 bales take a break). 🙂
    In any case, another on-point post this week, that loudly resonates within my soul. First, I thought about how much tin foil I used to save for memaw and how mémé would save the cooking grease in a tin can on the back of the stove. My heart has been stirred also to consider deeply the liberty discussed in Galatians 5:1, the spiritual freedoms discussed in John 8:31-38, and how we are on the brink of seeing those swept away in a nation that was founded upon those very principles. My heart is breaking on this July 4th as I’m recognizing that Christian liberty and spiritual freedom is about to be tested in ways that we Americans cannot even imagine. Our over 200 years of freedom has proven to be both a blessing and a curse I think my friend. In that time, the United States of America has done more to shine the light of Christ and the cause of freedom throughout the world than any nation in the history of the world. We have not done so to be conquerors, but to be defenders of others and of freedom. I’ve long been very proud to have served as a military veteran who sought to defend freedom around the world. I’ve been proud to represent my nation AND MY CHRISTIAN FAITH abroad so the world can see the testimony of what religious freedom looks and acts like. And I’ve been honored to share my Christian values, morality, and the manifold blessings of God with people all around the world. That, in my not so humble opinion, in the vision of American that many around the world once held.
    The other edge of that sword however has proven to cut deeply into the fabric of America and the Judeo-Christian faith upon which I stand. America stands on the precipice over an abyss of sinful choices, decisions, laws, and people that has subverted many of our churches, much of the government, and far too many of our people. We are, I fear, nearing that point of no return where our one God-fearing, Christian nation is becoming unrecognizable. Rather than a tower of strength and a beacon of hope, America is fast-becoming much like the third-world, socialist, and countries full of utter destruction and depravity as those who are illegally flooding across our borders are seeking to escape. Because of this, they are not being properly integrated into a land of opportunity, fueled by what we once called “the American way of life” and the “American dream”, they are subverting our nation to look and feel just like the places they migrated from. We are becoming that which we once stood and fought against.
    In our Lord tarries, our true American church may one day soon be driven underground. We may be driven to defend our spiritual freedom and Christian liberty. I pray we won’t be here to witness this, but if it be God’s will, I will humbly honor the words of John 15:13 and lay down my life in defense of my brothers and sisters in Christ. Thank you for stirring my soul on this Independence Day morning my friend. Sorry for the treatise; well, maybe a little. 🙂


    • This is another one of those responses about which Diane will say, “Why don’t you just copy that and post it? It’s better than most of the stuff that gets published.” She’s right about that, by the way. When you decide to cut loose and unwind a bit, it’s hard to sit still while I read it. It kicks in gear everything I love about God and this incredible country and everything I hate about the satanic deceptions choking the life out of it and everything I find disgusting about the do-nothing, game-playing, compromising, so-called “churches” making a mockery of the very term. Celebrating Independence Day has always stirred my heart, even though I didn’t get to don a uniform and take up arms to defend her when I was younger like you did, I would do that today if I weren’t a nearly worn out antique. The stand you’ve demonstrated in so many ways and the battles you continue to fight are inspirational to all of us who have come to know and love you, your Diane, and the Cross-Dubya. We are blessed to be in your circle of friends and to celebrate along with you and your family today. God has proven again and again that when the enemy seems invincible and the odds are overwhelming, He can take a handful of faithful servants and accomplish the impossible. Diane and I join you in the prayer that God will do that again–that He will cleanse His Church, that He will pour out His Spirit on millions of “dry bones” scattered across the land and raise up an army clothed in the armor Paul described and grant them the courage to withstand and defeat the demonic forces attacking the foundations of this great land. Now, a personal admonition–we don’t want to have to travel to Texas to visit you in a hospital because you decided to wrestle one too many bales of hay and push the envelope once too often. We’d rather take up an offering to send you some help. It’s better if Ronaldo misses a meal or two than that Papa can’t come and give him a loving pat on the rump when he needs it. Happy 4th, my friend, and thank you for sending a bright spot into ours.


  2. Annie Yorty says:

    Ron, I appreciate how you turned our attention to spiritual waste. There’s a lot to think about here.


    • Thank you so much for taking the time to share an encouraging response, Annie. I guess getting older has a natural reminder not to take life for granted and not to waste the time or the incredible gifts that God gives us. I hope you’re having a safe and uplifting 4th of July celebration and pray that God will bless you and your family and make your lives fruitful.


  3. I found your words here, Ron, to be so inspiring, that I emailed the blog to my daughter. As much as I love the whole family, they are not exactly the best stewards of their resources, although they are getting better in these financially stressed times. Thank you for reminding us, too, from whence true freedom originates. If Christ sets us free, we are free, indeed!
    Blessings, and have a wonderful Independence Day!


    • Such an encouraging note, Martha, and your concluding affirmation is a great prelude to the holiday. To know that we’re “free indeed” in these convulsive times is a priceless truth. Diane and I are hoping your time with your granddaughter was all that you wanted it to be, and that your 4th of July celebrations are uplifting in spite of all the negativity flying around. God bless you for your faithfulness in keeping the Good News alive and visible.


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