Home > Blog > When You Worry About Waste

When You Worry About Waste

By Annie Garman

“Mom, no! I don’t want to ‘just cut off the moldy part and eat the rest of the cheese.’ That’s disgusting!” I’m not sure if your kids have ever said this to you, but this statement has been said to me on more than one occasion.

You see, growing up, my parents taught me many good things. One of them was to never be wasteful.  I know their own parents were conscious of not wasting food, water, or electricity, because they lived during the Depression. Even wasting a product by not getting all the use out of it. “Waste not, want not,” was said to me often when I visited my grandparents on both sides.

I’m really thankful they taught me to appreciate what I have, but, as an adult, I have felt some anxiety about my ability to scrape every last ounce of value out of something in order to avoid waste. Should I cut open the lotion bottle and get a spatula? Should I drink the leftover milk from my kids’ cereal bowls? (My mom is reading this over my shoulder right now and answering these questions with a “Yes, of course.” See what I mean?)

A hurdle I’ve consistently faced in writing is related to this issue: I hesitate to write out of a fear of waste. What if the things I write are inconsequential and go into the dustbin of eternity? What if I could have or should have been doing something more practical and fruitful?

But, then a new thought struck me. What if I’ve been so concerned that writing is a waste of time and energy that I’ve wasted opportunities stewarding it? What if there is a ditch on either side of this issue? Our gifts and resources become a wasteland when we fail to cultivate them.

I decided to look up some Bible verses to see what God thought about waste and delightfully discovered a few things.

  1. Jesus didn’t like waste.

    After feeding five thousand, he gathered up the leftovers so that nothing would be wasted (see John 6:12).

  2. We’re told not to waste our time.

    Every day we’re given, we’re to be “making the most of the time” (Col. 4:5) and “making the most of the time, because the days are evil” (Eph. 5:16).

  3. Serving Jesus is never a waste of time.

    When Mary poured the flask of costly oil over Jesus’ head, his disciples were pretty angry. “Why has this perfume been wasted?” (Mark 14:4). Jesus, however, called it noble.

If you’re like me and wonder which way of serving Jesus is the most beneficial, Colossians 3:23 really clears that one up. “Whatever you do, do it from the heart, as something done for the Lord and not for people.”

God isn’t concerned about what exactly I do as long as I’m doing it for Him and Him alone. That’s the part that I should be working hard to discern. God, am I really doing this for you or to make myself feel better?

Recently, God has been calling me and freeing me to serve an audience of One. I’ve always heard that, in God’s economy, nothing is wasted. Sometimes that’s hard for me to wrap my head around. Nothing? What about my sin and my selfishness? What about the heinous crimes and the acts of terror? But, if you look around at this world God made, even waste isn’t wasted. I mean, God uses poop to fertilize our soil and allow new life to grow. Of course He can use anything.

So, whether or not you drink the leftover cereal milk or pour it down the sink, more than anything, let’s make sure we’re not wasting the right things, like an entire lifetime lived for ourselves.


Annie Garman

Annie B. Garman is a pastor’s wife and mother to four excitable girls, and author of Unexpected Grace: When Your Child is Born With Half a Heart. She and her family serve at Pillar Church in Northern Virginia where the traffic is thick, but the church planting opportunities abound. Their network of churches is attempting to plant a reproducible gospel-centered church at every Marine Corps base around the world (praetorianproject.org). Her biggest passion is to know Christ and make Him known in whatever situation she finds herself in. Annie shares her thoughts on motherhood, mayhem, and the meaning of life at anniebgarman.com.


view all
How to Determine Your Audience [Training Video]
Determining Your Audience

Exclusive Content

Build a Great Guest Services Team

Exclusive Content

Business Leadership and the Church

Exclusive Content

Succeeding in Church Planting

Exclusive Content

Should I Plant a House Church?

Exclusive Content