September 11, 2013

40 Days of Solidarity With The Poor

As part of my month of giving in October, we'll be doing 40 days of solidarity with the poor (on a slightly smaller scale than the book suggests) in order to spend less on food and give the extra money to a group that helps feed or provide clean water to those in need around the world.  I am thinking we'll go with Compassion International.  We toured there this summer and we were just blown away by all the amazing work they do in so many countries.

We won't be going down to one meal a day, as many of the poor are forced to do, mainly because that's not all that healthy, especially for the kids.  We will be doing our best to eat like the poor, both in the US and around the world.  Some nights we'll be doing $5 meals (huge thanks to Jessica Bonvillian for coming up with those for me) and some nights we'll pick a country and eat some of the things the poor in that country would eat.  I am going eat just breakfast and dinner and fast for lunch to pray for those in need and how our family can be part of the solution for the many, both in the US and around the world, who suffer from lack of food and clean water.  I will be drinking only water for the whole month (so, those of you who see me, you may have to remind me of this!)

Every Sunday is a celebration day.  This is to remind us that, as Christians, each Sunday is to be a taste of the greatest day on our calendar: Easter.  We are called to live lives of joy, not merely constant sorrow.  These feasting days are a reminder of that.  I was also challenged to invite someone to lunch each Sunday of the month (mainly because she knew that would be WAY out of my comfort zone.)  I am trying to embrace that challenge and face it head on, but I'll admit, it's not easy for me!

Here are some quotes from Chris Seay's book A Place at the Table: 40 Days of Solidarity with the Poor that really hit home with me. I can't wait to embark on this challenge.  There is a short devotion and story of some one's life, along with a way to pray, for each day to help get us through and see the truth of what those living in poverty around the world go through each day.  Lord, mold us and change us as we see the truth of poverty.  Make us more joyful and aware of even the smallest blessings each day.  Open our eyes and hearts to how we can help and give more of ourselves to those in need, both across the street and on the other side of the globe!

"God changes the world through humility and service."
"As we learn to march in step with our Savior, we find that our swagger gives way to a lowly and humble way of walking."
"We have allowed our love of freedom to become and excuse to live a life marked by self-absorbed consumerism."
"We often see ourselves most clearly in our children."  (Can I get a resounding AMEN?!?!?)
"The fact that God sustains our lives by a gift from His hand should cause us to stop everything and offer a sincere thanks, but so often we do not."
"The time has come to see the food set before us as manna--our miraculous provision for the day.  Certainly, if you haven't grown it, gathered it, transported it, frozen it, or packaged it, it is a miracle that it makes it to your table.  Avocados from Mexico become guacamole on a table in Minnesota in December?  Amazing."
"Feast days are a time for us to relax our fast and enjoy the extravagant grace of our Father."
"Ask God to transform your character in ways that lead you to be a person of humble strength like Jesus."
"Our goal is that our desires no longer drive our lives."
"Prepare for the unexpected."
"As we step into the wilderness, we will have to face many fears.  The world's economy drives people by fear.  God's way is to bring people comfort in grace and love.  May we lay down our desires and seek the heart of God...May He use this time to start and complete wholeness in our mind, body, and spirit...Be courageous, step out in faith, lay yourself down for 40 days, and see what rises in your life."

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