Devotion in Motion: Making use of the scraps

12 When they had all had enough to eat, He said to His disciples,

      “Gather the pieces that are left over.

         Let nothing be wasted.”  ~   John 6:12 (NKJV)

By Bro. John L. Cash

There’s something going on in my house that’s upsetting me. And somebody needs to do something soon.

My bars of bath soap keep getting smaller.

I know what you’re thinking: “Of course, your bath soap keeps getting smaller. That’s the way soap works. Every time you wash with it, part of the outer layer dissolves and goes down the drain.”

But that’s not the problem at all. I think a conspiracy is afoot, and the soap companies are messing with us.

Not long ago I opened one of the little cardboard boxes that soap comes in and dumped the thing into my hand. The box was the same size as always. But the soap was a lot smaller. It wasn’t a rectangle at all. There were these big-aerodynamic-frilly-swoops cut out of the block, like some kind of modern art sculpture. I think the new design was supposed to look cool enough to make me forget about the ounce of soap they stole from me.

There was an explanation from the corporation on the box. It said they’d developed a new shape for the soap so that it would fit better in my hand, for a superior bathing experience. But, the thing is, I never had any trouble taking a bath before they changed it.  I never had trouble holding on to it, and I never cut myself on it or got a blister. I’m pretty sure they just changed the shape so they could give me less soap and charge me the same amount of money.

Now, the thing gets worse. Whenever you bathe with bar soap, there comes a time when the bar gets so small you can’t do much with it. The smaller the bar is to begin with, the quicker it gets to the point of being a soap sliver. Then you have to buy another bar of soap. See where we’re going with this? Corporate conspiracy! A dirty plan for a clean product!

Just to be extra sure, I did some research. It turns out that the average bar of soap now is 3 to 4 ounces. In previous decades, a bar of Dial weighed a full 5 ounces. And a bar of Irish Spring weighed a whopping seven ounces. That’s almost a half a pound! It would take a bar of soap that large a long time to get down to sliver-size.

If somebody starts making a half-pound bar of soap, I’ll buy it immediately. But until then I’ve got another plan in place in my bathroom. I ordered some little nylon mesh bags, complete with drawstring tops. I put all our soap scraps (and sometimes a full bar) into a bag. It makes for a large surface area of soap. Rub it with a wet wash cloth, and you’ve got mountains of lather. In my estimation, it’s a wonderful way to save all those soap scraps.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what Jesus said when he fed the five thousand people with five loaves and two fish. Afterwards, He said, “Let nothing be wasted.” So the disciples picked up all the broken pieces that hadn’t been touched, and they put them in baskets. There were 12 big baskets — like laundry hampers — of leftover bread and fish.  The Bible doesn’t say so, but you can be sure that a lot of people had a good supper that night. Think of the tremendous good that could be done in this world if everybody just made use of their scraps!

Let’s strive to be better stewards this week of all the things God has given us. Endeavor to be less wasteful and to give what you gain into the upbuilding of God’s kingdom.

It’s time for us all to come clean.  😊

Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 34 ½ years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. He’s currently on a sabbatical from the preaching ministry, and is an English teacher at the Choctaw Tribal School. He and his lovely wife, Susan, live in a brick house in town (where the neighbor dogs, Duke and Duchess, frequently stop by for a visit.) You can send him a note at