Tuesday, September 9, 2008

That Nothing Be Lost

I know my generation is not characteristically conscientious about conserving resources. My grandparents' generation is. I imagine that there have been people in every generation who took their possessions for granted, glibly presuming upon replacing things with little sacrifice on their part. But they have historically been in the minority. Today, however, it is difficult to find someone (other than our grandparents) who understands the mindset of Mrs. Jonathan Edwards.

In the Memoirs of Jonathan Edwards, the author makes this observation:
She was conscientiously careful that nothing should be wasted and lost; and often when she herself took care to save any thing of trifling value, or directed her children or others to do so, or when she saw them waste any thing, she would repeat the words of our Saviour--"That nothing be lost;" which words she said she often thought of, as containing a maxim worth remembering, especially when considered as the reason alleged by Christ, why his disciples should gather up the fragments of that bread which he had just before created with a word (The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Volume 1, Hendrickson 2005, p. lxxxvii).
Not only do these sentences reveal something of Sarah Edwards's good stewardship of resources, but they impressed me with her astute biblical application. How many times have I read those verses and skimmed over that quotation of Christ as ancillary to the "real" lesson of the recorded event? Necessary to advance the action, but not really pertinent to what was being communicated. And not just that narrative, but dozens more in Scripture are written for my admonition.

The challenge for me in this passage from the life of Mrs. Edwards is to see that nothing of God's gifts of resources or of instruction be lost on me.

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