Bible Reading: Philippians 3:1-21
I remember one of the habits my brothers and I had growing up. We called it ‘pinching’ things around the kitchen.
Mum could shout things like ‘did anyone take meat here?’ And a sincere reply could be something like ‘No, I just pinched a little!’
Pinching was so subtle that if you were the uninformed, you wouldn’t even know anything had happened to the meat. There were ways to pinch fried beef that wouldn’t give you away. There were ways to pinch fried chicken. There were ways to pinch cake.
It took patience and planning, and it really felt like it was a win-win for everyone- mum would have her complete number of fried meats, the eventual eaters would feel the same about what they’re eating (the reduction would be so insignificant and unnoticeable on each one) while the pincher would have a delightful feast!
One of the pinching rules was never to pinch too much off each one. Be satisfied to patiently take a little off each one. The ultimate delight of pinching is in the accumulation of many littles. I remember a particular late night that my brother and I stayed probably over an hour patiently and skillfully pinching and pinching a whole big pot of hundreds of pieces of fried beef.
I should also mention that one of the ethics of the pinching thing was to avoid pinching already pinched things, at least in the immediate, because the starting benchmark had already been shifted. Progressively taking it further and further away from its original would make it a little more likely to be noticed. But a day or two later, when everyone’s perspective had been adjusted to the new size, then you can comfortably pinch the previously pinched. That way, the pinching effect is worked in progressively and helps mum to never have a panic attack.
I think the parallels are clear. It’s quite the same way in which life and the processes we encounter deplete us little by little. Maybe you started out the year with a huge sense of audacity and courage and hope and enthusiasm. But a few disappointments later, and a couple of failures later, and one or two failed plans later, a lot of pinching has eaten into the size and power of your enthusiasm.
I wonder what the story of this year has been for you? Has life and all that’s gone on in the world subtly pinched again and again from your enthusiasm ? Have you become cold hearted in some way? Maybe not outright cold hearted- maybe it’s more like not particularly hot hearted. Situations have pinched from the passion you started out the year with.
Maybe it’s the story of your career or of your marriage. Maybe it’s the story of raising kids or of some beautiful relationship or opportunity God blessed you with. Maybe familiarity is pinching and pinching and now you don’t even ‘feel like’ any more.
Today, I pray that Paul’s words will encourage you:
I admit that I haven’t yet acquired the absolute fullness that I’m pursuing, but I run with passion into his abundance so that I may reach the purpose that Jesus Christ has called me to fulfill and wants me to discover. Philippians 3:12 TPT
We need to rediscover and run with our passion! We need to reclaim all that devil and life have stolen from us! We need our deepest sense of ‘we’re not there yet- God is still leading us into more!’ We need to rediscover our enthusiasm!
Our sound of hope in the future must be more than the sound of loss in the past.
Even if the enemy pinched from your passion, he never pinched from God’s promise! So re embrace the promise and let it fill your tank of passion and enthusiasm again.
Would you take a reflective moment today to be grateful for the many promises and privileges that surround you in life. Would you lean over the precious opportunities to belong, to serve, to grow, to give and in many ways, to live! I believe that in itself will not only fuel a deep sense of gratitude and wonder, but also enthusiasm for the hopes and possibilities ahead !