Value in crumbs and leftovers

Published 10:16 pm Wednesday, February 20, 2019

By QuaWanna Bannarbie

Have you hit the stores for the best of the after Valentine’s Day shopping? According to news reports, trends show that people are doing more last-minute buying for their valentines, which seems to have left several of our stores with great piles of what I have dubbed as “love leftovers.”

I happened to be in Kroger on Main Street on Monday evening when a female manager was arranging their 50-percent off signs for the After Valentine’s Day Sale items. I was so surprised by the long row of unpurchased items that greeted me at the entrance of the store that I said, “Whoa, that will last you quite a few Valentine’s Days.” The manager responded and said, “You won’t believe how much we have sold.” She was right. Those leftovers still carry some value even after the holiday has passed. I have made purchases after Valentine’s Day for the past nine years, ever since my daughter started school in 2010. I have a supply closet of cards, stickers and craft materials. This year, I used some of my personal stash to help our Children’s Ministry at Covenant Community Church design bookmarks for the retirement community at Autumn Care of Suffolk. I also had the pleasure of delivering them to the residents on Valentine’s Day. That just goes to show that leftovers can always be put to good use. I am all about the “love leftover shopping.” Since my youngest son just started Pre-K this past fall, I still have many years of valentines exchanges ahead.

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In the book of Matthew, Jesus brings our attention to a woman who knows the value of love leftovers. In chapter 15, Jesus is on a walk with the disciples in the area of Tyre and Sidon when a Canaanite woman cries after him, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil” (verse 22). The Bible says that Jesus does not respond right away, but she pursues Him further despite the disciples’ wishes for Jesus to send her away. The next four verses read:
24 He [Jesus] answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”
25 The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.
26 He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”
27 “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”

I have always marveled at this scripture passage. It is a moving and transformational interaction between our Savior and a woman who knows Him. This woman of desperate need placed such a high value on Jesus’ power. Even if He gave her a crumb’s portion, she wanted it. She wanted His leftovers. She knew no matter how much of it He gave, it was enough. Not only that, she counted herself as a worthy recipient of what Jesus had to offer because she believed He was master of all including her life and that of her vexed daughter. I love Jesus’ response to the Canaanite woman. He says, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire” (verse 28). His words speak to me today because I am a woman willing to use the crumbs. I am willing to use what little I have. I will use the crumbs because I want Jesus to see my faith. His love is enough. And if it is crumbs I have now, then crumbs are a gift and they will not be crumbs for long. “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much…” (Luke 16:10). In Jesus, crumbs are continual, and little is much.

My prayer along with you today is that we will not discount the leftovers. I am not suggesting that you go out and buy every valentine gift remaining in the Kroger aisle. Look within your personal supply closet. You are a supply of many resources available to you through your faith and relationship with Jesus Christ. If we are going to be like little children and follow crumbs, let it be from the master’s table.

QuaWanna Bannarbie is an adjunct professor of nonprofit leadership and management with Indiana Wesleyan University, National and Global. Her children attend Suffolk Public Schools. Connect with her via Twitter @QNikki_Notes.