Devotional: November 25th
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. That's one of those Biblical sayings that isn't really in the Bible. It is drawn from the Book of Ecclesiastes as Solomon reflects on the nature of man at death and what happens to the body when left to decompose. But all Solomon says is, "all are from the dust and all return to dust," (Ecclesiastes 3:20) and "then the dust will return to the earth as it was." (Ecclesiastes 12:7) I'm not sure who originally devised the other statement but it has become a part of our funeral culture over the years.
That "dust to dust" part is the one that got to me the other day as I came to the bottom of a box of Special K cereal. My wife and I have taken the "Special K Challenge." We have replaced breakfast and lunch with two bowls of Special K cereal with the promise that we will lose six pounds in two weeks. (does that mean that if a person kept doing that for a period of years that they would disappear?) We both have a little weight to lose and feel that six pounds would be a wonderful jump start.
Back to the "dust to dust." Those of you who regularly eat cereal for breakfast or snacks know that, when you come to the bottom of the box, there is cereal dust. That last bowl winds up with all the settlement residue spread over the surface of the bowl. That's when you see the dust floating on the milk and taste its granular texture. It makes the cereal taste different, almost like there's a paste or a film over it. I remember that from my childhood as my mom never threw away the last bit of cereal even though I tried my hardest to not eat it.
I think she got that from her mom, my Grandma Tanner. Mimi would have me over to stay with her from time to time and would always have my favorite cereal. The problem was that her box of cereal had been sitting for some time because I was the only one who ate it at her house. I mentioned that to her one time and she told me, "Waste not, want not." I think that's the whole concept behind leftovers. Those who endured the Great Depression decided to invent them as a way of using every last bit of stuff they could.
Enter Jesus. He didn't believe in residue or dust or even ashes. He believed that those who followed Him didn't have the same stale purpose day after day. He believed that each day that purpose was renewed. It never got to the bottom of the box and the cereal dust. "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me." Luke 9:23 That means that, each day we renew our commitment to the Lord, He renews our purpose. That's pure "top-of-the-box" living.
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