Thursday, March 5, 2009

Expiration Date

I’ve been throwing away expired stuff from my pantry. Hurts me to pitch cake mixes, canned frostings, or ground cinnamon I bought in 1989, but I’d sure hate to be the cause of someone expiring from moldy food. Expired milk’s another story – doesn’t matter about the date the fine print proclaims, I drink it as long as it doesn’t smell funky or taste peculiar. Not everyone is as trusting as I; a couple of young houseguests eyed me with suspicion when I tried to convince them that even though the “good by” date was history, the milk was still sweet and safe. “I don’t drink anything expired” were the specific words they used. I sighed and gave up.

What a waste of money it is to discard what could be perfectly okay food! But caution demands that I grit my teeth and dump it. However, I will put a stop to this: From now on I’m gonna shop for items when I need them instead of stockpiling “possibles.” Too many times the “possibles” (say, a can of cream of coconut or a jar of pickled cabbage) became “puzzles” – unfamiliar edibles poised expectantly on the shelf waiting to be utilized – and waiting and waiting and waiting - because I can’t for the life of me remember what I had been so excited to concoct. Can anyone relate?

At times I’ve felt as though I have an expiration date, and it’s coming up close. Don’t start planning my funeral; I’m not talking about passing on. It’s just that I feel - well, moldy and stale from time to time. As though my vigorous years have waned and over-ripeness is around the corner. I felt that way the other day when my body was not cooperating with my mind. So many things I want to do, to participate in, dreams to bring to reality, shopping to do!! Just kidding; shopping does not call my name as it once did. However, this inability to carry through with light-bulb moments does cause me to wonder occasionally if I’ve sat in the frig a bit too long.
Wouldn’t Satan just love to convince me that I am out of date, ready to expire?! Not much use any longer? Wouldn’t he delight to whisper that in your ear too - and make us both believe it?

Take heart! Here’s what the Lord says regarding our usefulness:
“Let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap if we do not loosen and relax our courage, and faint” (Gal. 6:3).

“Be firm (steadfast), immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing and being continuously aware that your labor in the Lord is not futile - it is never wasted or to no purpose” (1 Cor. 15:58).

Never wasted!! How about that?!

“For this I labor, striving with all the superhuman energy which He so mightily enkindles and works within me” (Col. 1:29).

Does it sound as if God can extend our expiration dates through His mighty power within us?
And this marvelous promise: “The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree - be long-lived, stately, upright, useful, and fruitful; they shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon - majestic, stable, durable, and incorruptible. Planted in the house of the Lord, they shall flourish in the courts of our God. [Growing in grace] they shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be full of sap –of spiritual vitality – and rich in trust, love, and contentment. They are living memorials to show that the Lord is upright and faithful to His promises; He is my Rock, and there is not unrighteousness in Him” Psa. 92:12-15).

Maybe I don’t have an expiration date after all – ever.