Third-Hand Ham

August 2, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Life Topics

By Cynthia Ruchti –

Sometimes love looks a lot like ham.

It did the day someone gave us a third-hand ham. Oh, it was new, fresh, still in its original packaging, but it had traveled through two other homes before it came to rest at ours.

Its first owner won the ham in a raffle. He doesn’t eat ham. So he gave it to a friend. But the friend insisted the ham was outrageously too big for his small family. So he gave it to us. For us, it was an answer to prayer for something nice to serve at a big family gathering. Spiral ham, no less.
Now that I think about it, the ham was a fourth-hand ham, if you count the people who donated it for the raffle.

Rather than viewing it as the dreaded “regifting,” we saw the journey that ham took as a journey of love.

It made me stop to think about a subject that the Lord often uses to reveal more of His genuine heart toward His people. Toward me.

I’ve marveled before at the feeding of the 5,000 where Jesus took five small loaves of bread and two small fish and turned it into a feast for the multitude…with twelve basketsful left over! But fourth-hand ham stirred me to consider what might have happened with those leftovers.

Did the disciples throw the leftovers away? It doesn’t fit the picture of how God operates. Did Jesus instruct His disciples to take those baskets out into the villages and find homeless or hungry people who would receive the scraps with gratitude? That seems more likely. Once Jesus touched anything, it wasn’t worthless. His leftovers, His glances, the dust-caked hem of His robe brought people in contact with His mighty, healing power.

Someday I may meet a new friend in heaven who starts her story with, “I wasn’t there that day, for the feeding of the 5,000. But my family was the recipient of one of the baskets of leftovers. I’ve never tasted anything so delicious. It fed us for a long time and not only kept us from starvation, but it showed us that God cared about us, even us.”

What do I have—in its original packaging, fresh, valuable—that might need to pass through a few hands until it gets to the hungry person God had in mind from the beginning?

PRAYER: Father God, thank You for all the times You’ve laid a ham at our doorstep, a bag of groceries, a gift card. Please make me more sensitive to those around me who not only need the food, but the reminder that You care.

BIBLE VERSE: “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Luke 6:38, NIV).

About Cynthia Ruchti

Cynthia Ruchti tells stories of Hope-that-glows-in-the-dark through her novels and novellas, devotion collections, speaking, teaching, and a history of 33 years as a radio writer/producer. Her books have been recognized by RT Reviewers’ Choice, Retailers’ Choice, Family Fiction Readers’Choice, and other honors. Her novel When the Morning Glory Blooms (Abingdon Press Fiction) releases April 1, 2013. A nonfiction project—Ragged Hope: Surviving the Fallout of Other People’s Choices—releases July 2013 from Abingdon Press Christian Living.
  • Advertisement


4 Responses to “Third-Hand Ham”
  1. I never thought about what happened to all those extra baskets. What a great thought! Like you said, nothing Jesus did (does) ever went to waste so I’m sure it was used for a great purpose.

  2. Dawn Wilson says:

    You made me think about my closets and shelves … what do I have that the Master might use to bless others? Well said, Cynthia.

  3. Robin Steinweg says:

    You have a number of profound moments in this piece, Cynthia. Lots to chew on–and to pass on to others later!

  4. Kim says:

    What a wonderful reminder that God use anything and anyone to bless another person. So many times we look for “miracles” when all along He’s asking us to bless each other.

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!

Prove You\'re Human: *