April 17, 2006
America the Wasteful
A couple of weeks ago my parents and I had stopped to pick up a few items at a large store. As we were returning to our car across the large parking lot I happened to notice that someone had dropped a bag from a local fast food restaurant on the ground and either intentionally run over it, or it had been run over by someone else. Whatever the case, it obviously still had food in it, some of which was spreading itself on the pavement.
This small incident got me to pondering on the wastefulness of Americans - perhaps of most "western" cultures.
My grandparents went through the Depression and were all missionaries, so wastefulness was something that was frowned upon in our family (though not as strictly as in some). My mother used to wonder that her grandmother never got food poisoning from the aged leftovers she ate. I wondered that my Gramma didn't do the same; and my mom is in a fair way of being the same, despite my dad's efforts to convince her she can't use leftovers that long.
I remember years ago being in a home for dinner. The lady had prepared a nice meal of baked chicken. Afterwards, as we were cleaning up the kitchen, the young wife proceeded to deposit all the food trash from the meal into the broth in the baking pan which also contained what was left of the chicken carcass. My mom asked her why she didn't use that broth to make soup. The young lady had never thought of that before and was sorry she had wasted it! This in spite of the fact that she was raised in the country by frugal parents.
There are other instances I’ve heard of or seen - the family who never ate leftovers and so the wife threw out everything left including the roast beef; the family who threw away cookies when they were more than a couple of days old; the people who were going to throw out the remainders of a turkey breast until their dismayed guests offered to take the it home, and so on. One sickening example was the church where almost all the women threw away all their leftovers after a church dinner regardless of their family's financial state (and some were quite poor).
Wastefulness. It is the result too often of fullness of bread and no "need" to extend our hand to the poor. Ezekiel 16:49 Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. 50 And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good.
Now I admit that my family is not perfect at this by any means. We throw away more spoiled food than I like, and at times I feel really bad about it. I don't suggest that we become paranoid nor over scrupulous. That only makes us anxious and can cause useless guilt (to say nothing of food poisoning). It is interesting though, that while so many things are preached and set forth today as "necessary" for us to do to "please God", you almost never hear this kind of wastefulness condemned. And yet, we have Jesus Christ Himself as the example of wisdom in this! After the feeding of the five thousand we read in John 6: 12, When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost. 13 Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten.
Proverbs 12:27 The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting: but the substance of a diligent man is precious.