Hubby and I started this study on May 11th, which would have been little O’s 7th birthday. Not so coincidentally, this book covers a 40 day fasting diet, so we’ll end on the day of O’s passing. Let me say this; in the last 10 days I have learned more about myself than I care to admit and also about how I view food.
Our church, Curtis Lake Christian Church, is growing in the direction of world service. We sponsor several programs overseas and here at home in places like Romania, Ethiopia, Russia, China, Mexico and in our own community. We desire to be a church that reflects the body of Christ and that extends to being His hands and feet where ever we are needed. Our Mission is to help people find hope in God, develop faith in Jesus, and lead others with Love. Our Vision is to create a church where unchurched people’s curiosity becomes commitment. Now you know where I am coming from! To add to this, a friend of mine who happens to be our Director of Outreach has been studying her buns off to learn more about the huge issues like human trafficking, slavery, and the plight of the poor around the world. Her goal is to advance awareness to as many people as she can and she’s doing a fantastic job!
My point in mentioning the study and our church’s goals is this – they coincide! Everything I’m doing right now, all the various areas I’ve committed to serving in are converging into ONE goal – to eliminate poverty and human trafficking. My Wednesday morning women’s Bible study is covering the book of James using Beth Moore’s Mercy Triumphs study. She has put it best by saying this:
- “…the only time I feel a vivid fellowship with suffering believers in other parts of the world is when I am humbled by extreme difficulty of my own. Otherwise, I wonder how in Heaven’s name I will stand next to them around the throne of God and have any crowns at all to cast. Without frequent humblings, I am a cushy, lightweight Christian who doesn’t know the first thing about denying myself and carrying my cross.“
WOW! Now ain’t that the truth! There’s no condemnation there – simply an acknowledgement of where we are in the world. We are incredibly privileged to be living in this country, to have corner stores, grocery stores, specialty shops, delis, cupcakeries, bakeries, fast food, and restaurants galore! To wake up in the morning and wonder what we feel like eating instead of seeing only what there is to eat. Our choices are taken for granted so badly they aren’t even in the realm of our awareness, we just go for it with no thought for our poor neighbors or even if those poor neighbors had a hand in harvesting what we’re putting into our mouths. Do the companies that import our fruits and veggies use fair trade practices? Or do they just go on with a blind eye and except the lowest bids thereby ensuring slavery and brutal conditions in the areas of the world we get our food from?
Chris Seay’s study, which includes a 40 day Lent-style fast, our church’s mission and vision statements, the Book of James, my friend’s efforts in educating herself, and even our Pastor’s current sermon series are all speaking the same message! We must do our very best to serve those in need. Throughout the entire Bible God puts tremendous emphasis on remembering the poor, serving the poor, blessing the poor. There will always be poor in this world. Again Beth Moore says this:
- “The point is not to stir up guilt. It’s to stir up giving. Simply put, we who have are to open our hands in complete humility to those who don’t.”
Back to the 40 day fast and where this epiphany came from…I’m attempting to be faithful to this fasting diet I’ve chosen but realize I am failing miserably. Even in our fasting state we have more food than most poor people can imagine. To eat the staples of rice, veggies, chicken, eggs and beans and nothing else for 40 days is virtually impossible for someone who has literally NO will power or discipline when it comes to food. I adore food. I crave the tastes and textures of really good food. I am addicted to having what I want when I want it. I am a slave to my desire for food. Now reconcile that with someone who is trying to commit to a specific diet for 40 days. Yup – it’s darned HARD! I am grateful everyday that I don’t have to rely on what I’m eating for the rest of my life. I know when my 40 days are up I will have the freedom to eat whatever I like. However, this is WHY I’m doing this fast. To learn more about self control, discipline and what God wants to teach me about how I view food. It turns out that while, yes, I have cheated, I have also been made aware of all these other elements. Where is my food coming from? How was it harvested? What is in my food – preservatives, chemicals, etc? Am I supporting human trafficking with my food purchases because I’m not careful about researching the companies fair trade practices? I’m hopeful that when my 40 days are up that I will not go back to the same attitude I had before.
I’m doing my best. I’ll go several days sticking to it then cave in and grab a slice of cheese. I’ve put cheese, chocolate, sweets, processed foods and red meats on the fasting table. I need to know if I can go the distance without them. So far I know I really don’t like beans in any shape or form! You can make them taste OK but you just can’t change their texture! *shiver* Now how do I feel about having to eat them knowing that beans may be the only source of nutrition for many poor? That they don’t have a choice? Yikes…having to eat something several times a day that you really don’t like because it’s the only thing you have? Yikes, again.
I really want a revelation from God about my eating habits and how I can change them and make a difference in the world. It may be a miniscule footprint that I’m able to contribute but it’s better than nothing. And, who knows, somewhere along the way, I may inspire someone else to change their view of food and then there will be two of us. We’ll create a ripple effect!
“What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” James 2:14-17
Pray for me as I go through this amazing journey!
Blessings on you!