waste not, want not

“So it is: we are not given a short life but we make it short,
and we are not ill-supplied but wasteful of it.”


(a busy and hungry carpenter bee on the Meyer lemon tree / Julie Cook / 2017)

Waste not want not
is an expression that appears to have its origin in Old English lexicons dating back to 1576.
“For want is nexte to waste, and shame doeth synne ensue,”

A more familiar version emerges in 1721 as the expression
“willful waste makes woeful want”…

Which eventually turned into the short and sweet proverb we use today.

Each of my grandmothers used various versions on me and my cousins when we were all little…
with each version having much the the same meaning….
that our wanting should never be confused with our needing…
and lest we ever dare to be wasteful with what we’d been given…we had been warned.

As it all boils down to the understanding the difference between wanting, needing and wasting…

So as I was watching this carpenter bee enjoying the new blooms on the lemon tree,
I was reminded of that long ago wisdom as I watched him accidentally knock off a few of the petals.

Obviously not one to be wasteful, the bee immediately left the tree, flying down to the
the fallen petals on the sidewalk, making certain he had gotten all the
nectar he could….leaving nothing to waste.

Oh that we mere mortals could be so mindful…

But godliness with contentment is great gain.
For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.
But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.
Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and
harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.

1 Timothy 6:6-9

9 comments on “waste not, want not

  1. Lynda says:

    Not wasting shows respect for God’s creation and God’s universe and also gratitude for all that we have. We are so very blessed materially. There are many in this world who would be just like the bee and not waste a scrap out of sheer necessity. Let’s apply this way of thinking to our time and our thoughts so that we use our time to interact with our Lord rather than fritter it away. This is a great reflection for the beginning of Holy Week. Thanks Julie!

  2. atimetoshare.me says:

    We can learn so much from God’s creation. Sometimes the littlest have the biggest lessons.

  3. Citizen Tom says:

    Love the pictures and the thought, but that is one type of bee I dread seeing. They are called carpenter bees for a reason. I wish they would stop drilling holes into my house.

  4. Wally Fry says:

    We live in a disposable world, unfortunately

  5. Yes mindful of every breath we breath, of every miracle we witness, of every blessing that befalls us, of everything that comes to us through nothing that we have made or done. Mindful of grace and mercy! Mindful of God and all that He has made. Splendid photo and post my friend. Love and hugs, N 🙂 ❤

  6. oneta hayes says:

    Nice lesson from the bee.

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