There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. ~Anaïs Nin

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Lent Day Nineteen - A Lesson In Uncle Ben's

When I was a 21 year old college graduate starting out in my new career, the first thing I did with my very first paycheck was to sponsor a child from Save The Children.  Each month, I would send my check to support this child and I continue to do that to this day, even adding several more children over the years.  But other than that it makes me feel quite altruistic, I don’t give these children much thought as I go about my day to day life.

Today, my pastor shared an update from a couple in our church who recently traveled to Swaziland. During their time there, they visited an orphanage where the children receive one bowl of rice per day, and on weekends sometimes they don’t even get that.   I felt sad hearing this story, even as I thought of what I would have for lunch after the service.

When God became human through Jesus of Nazareth, He didn’t come here to wave a magic wand and make everything all better, He came to show us that He understood what it means to be human.  Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness, dealing with temptation, hunger, thirst.  Throughout his ministry, He suffered terrific pain and loss.  By entering into the human experience, God was no longer this great being in the sky that we had to appease through burnt offerings, but instead He became someone we could relate to, talk to, someone we could love.

There is no question that charitable donations are helpful, but unless I can better understand the plight of the people I am trying to help, I am merely assuaging my guilt.  Jesus, through his actions, has taught me that true compassion means suffering along with those towards whom I feel compassion.

But could I go a whole day without eating anything but a bowl of rice?  I’m not sure I could even go a day just skipping lunch, but this is Lent and for 40 days I agreed to put God first in my life, and if this is what He’s asking me to do, I better do it. And tomorrow is as good a day as any.   But next year for Lent, I’m just giving up chocolate.


  1. When we were first thinking about adopting from Ethiopia, I read this book called "There Is No Me Without You", about many of the realities for children in that country and I tell you, after that I had some serious feelings of...not really guilt...but maybe a feeling of being convicted of my own "need" to satisfy every little desire for food or drink I have. All that I eat when I'm not even hungry, the times I take another portion even though I am full...I felt really ashamed. For awhile.

    Good luck with your rice fast.:) Aside from prayer, very little brings one closer to God than fasting.:)

  2. I totally hear you Colleen... about everything you said. I will blog later about how my day went :)

  3. :) I'm officially taking a bit of a break and so just wanted to ask you, do you use FB? Could you email me your full name so I can find you, only if you like of course!:)

  4. So sorry to post these here, it's just that I can't find an email for you.:) In response to what you wrote, please email if you'd like to! I am only limiting blog time but still using my email and FB. I wouldn't like to loose touch with you, I really like you!:)

    (Man do I sound creepy.:)

  5. Wow, this post really resonates with me. My heart breaks for those kids yet I go about my daily life without any extra thought.

    Good luck during Lent!

  6. Hi Helene, thanks for stopping by my blog! I will be posting about my rice/fast day later this evening. I'll let you know how it was :)

  7. Chocolate? Now that would be a tough one! ;) I know. I wish I could just go pick up one of those children and bring them home. I wish it weren't so expensive and months of waiting...

  8. Esther, Actually what I meant was sponsor a child. That's much more affordable and still helps them out a great deal! I better fix that!