Thursday, March 3, 2011

Day 3 of Rice and Beans

"Then Jesus said to his host, 'When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.'" (NIV)

I am loving the booklet LAHASH published this year for their Rice and Beans month. Either I didn't get last years or they didn't have one. It is basically a 30-day devotional to read together as a family. It is helping both Luke and I and then I when Luke is gone for diner (about half the time) to keep putting in front of the kids (and myself) the reason we are eating rice and beans for a solid month.

I read (paraphrasing) the adult portion for Luke and I and then read the kids their portion. The kids portion jumped out and me and ran over me with more force than what I had read for Luke and I.

"Giving someone a present, sharing your lunch with a classmate, or letting someone take a first turn are all nice things we can do for our friends. They will probably say "Thank you!" or even share with you the next time. But what if someone doesn't say "Thank you," or they don't have enough to share with you? Doing nice things for those people is a lot harder, because you might not get anything back. But Jesus tells us to love everybody, especially people who are not able to do anything nice for us. It might be hard, but Jesus said if we love everyone, He will reward us with incredible riches in Heaven!" --Rice and Beans Booklet

I have felt many times in my 9 years of marriage like I couldn't reach out to help or minister to someone because I simply couldn't afford to. I couldn't cook a meal for a friend because frankly, I barely had the funds to feed our growing family. I couldn't go out with a friend for coffee because I was embarrassed to say that I couldn't afford the $2.00 cup of coffee. I couldn't support the missionary friends who I wanted to because most months we were barely scraping together the money to pay rent or a house payment.

I felt the Health, Wealth and Happiness Gospel screaming it's happy self into my puckering and confused face that if I just believed harder, had more faith, spoke the right words, went to church enough times, read my Bible 3 hours a day, spoke a certain way, volunteered for every church and ministry opportunity that came my way that God would pour out His blessings on us and we'd have MORE MORE MORE. Usually that meant more money.

It's not happened. In fact, not much has changed financially in our 9 years of marriage, but I have seen God's pouring out of GRACE, MERCY, LOVE, TOGETHERNESS, PEACE, PATIENCE, and FAITHFULNESS in our marriage and family.

I have learned that when extra does come our way that it's OK and even FUN to give it away and BLESS someone else. "I have learned that time and service are just as important, if not more so than money. I have learned that a simple note or a warm loaf of home made bread, or a phone call touch hearts in profound ways.

I may not be able to afford to put my kids in soccer or gymnastics or ballet, or karate, or whatever is the thing for kids to do; however, I can afford my time to teach them that eating something as simple as Rice and Beans every night for dinner will truly impact someone else who is their age on the other side of the globe.

I hope, I pray that one day when they grow up that whatever their financial status: whether they be rich or poor, that they can reach out to others around them. That they will look beyond themselves and their circumstances and see the needs of others and give what they can give: Time, a Listening Ear, Money, an Act of Kindness, a Sacrifice of Self.


the schilps said...

i just wanted to say thanks, melinda!! whew, it's a journey, yes?!! but i so appreciate your words and sincerity and good ole' honesty. i needed a little help processing this evening (march 5) because, frankly, i just wanted to something else, anything else :) thanks for the encouragement.

love you.

Soaring High said...

haha! I was not craving beans and rice that is for sure. I'm glad we're in this journey together

Wendy said...

Great post. So true. I've often felt the same way -- "how can I help anyone, when I can barely take care of my own family?" But i'm learning, like you, to Think Outside the Box. There are *always* opportunities to help others!
Love your heart.