What’s For Supper?

image of red beans and rice meal called Tender Mercies from the Midwest Food Bank

What’s for supper? That’s a common question. What if I told you that my pastor offered to buy our whole church dinner? He did. Our message at Heartland Community Church last weekend was on, “Radical Generosity.” The offer was to provide an example, how something small, when done in community, can become something big. Roger asked us a practical question, “Who is likely to eat one meal out this week?” I’m guessing that a quarter of us said yes. His offer was this–trade your dinner out, for a dinner in and write a check to the Midwest Food Bank for the amount that you would have spent. He and his wife, purchased each of us wiling to participate, “Tender Mercies,” chicken and rice hot dish meal.  These meals are mailed all over the world to feel the hungry. It cost our pastor 50 cents per meal. I love math, especially this math!

Here is his math:
If 100 of us participated
and we averaged $20 per donation
we would raise $2000
reinvest that in more Tender Mercies meals resulting in 4000 meals purchased and donated
each meal feeds four people, that results in 16,000 people being fed!

16,000!

I’m so in! We were not planning on eating out, but I didn’t want to miss out on being a part of this small thing I could do. Our family attempts to have a family night each Wednesday. It’s a cheap date in that we rent a movie and have frozen pizza, a salad, chockfull of fresh veggies, with homemade balsamic vinaigrette dressing, and a box of theater candy. After church, I announced to our family that we were having red beans and rice for dinner on family night (and I intended water and no candy) to gain perspective on what some poor and disadvantaged people experience as a gourmet meal. Our friends, who are staying with us, were willing to join us in our endeavor.

Today, I got called away from home, and they started preparing supper without me. And, they planned a party. Mutiny was more like it! Hey, while mom’s away…Anyway, I walked in the door and the menu had been upgraded to include: sparkling grape juice, a cheese ball that a friend had given us the morning before (a belated Christmas gift), and freshly made, although a bit overcooked chocolate chip cookies (thank you Great Neighbor for sharing–they were delish). If I understand correctly, we got the cookies because of their being overcooked and my husband saying he’d eat them!

I acquiesced my master plan to eat rice and beans and drink water with no dessert. We were all excited to try out our meal, with the newly added perks. Honestly, it was very tasty! My daughter began to complain about the cookie until I stopped the movie and reminded her that the cookie was a bonus and that we were not even going to have a treat. Then I reminded her of why we were doing what we were doing. She silently at the cookie and was grateful to have it at all. We “big people” were just as grateful. That is so much the point! We take so much for granted and as I hope to write about soon, so much of our focus and energies are spent on preferences and not true need.

The “experience” ended well. Very well from my perspective. We had a wonderful family night, with dear friends, who care about the poor as well. We had a wonderful meal that felt like stone soup…I was willing to eat rice and beans and drink water. We were given a delicious cheese ball and cookies. It was fun and had purpose beyond entertainment and even beyond being together. We did one small thing to help the overwhelming situation of the poor, and I felt blessed realizing that our entire meal was given to us! God is the one who gives it all anyway and we can give out of our abundance to those who do not have.

Our pastor said that often times our lack of caring for the poor and disadvantaged breaks down into four issues:

  1. We are ignorant about God’s heart (I cannot find the complete list, but can see many reference to there being about 2000 Bible versed about caring for the poor and disadvantaged)
  2. We are insulated from the poor
  3. We feel incapacitated by the need
  4. We are indecisive about next steps

I loved that Roger, gave me a practical next step, that helped me move out, into making a small difference. One plus one makes two and he said we can all do something. Maybe you would like to invest in a few meals for the hungry. You can visit http://www.tendermercies.com/ to get a sample and invest in being a solution. 100% of your donation goes to those in need and that is a tasty percentage!

Tonight will be a family night I will remember for a long time. I am glad that God is both wrecking my heart over what breaks His AND He is pointing to doable things, that make a huge difference. I would be very interested to know if any of you decide to give it a try. Tender Mercies offers a free sample. If 100 people do this, and each person donates on an average $20, then my spending a few hours, struggling through writing this post (I am still new to WordPress AND blogging) will be SO worth it, because we will have fed 16,000 hungry! And THAT is some good math.

Tender Mercies Meal
What’s For Dinner?
Midwest Food Bank Tender Mercies Red Beans and Rice Label.
Tender Mercies
image of red beans and rice meal called Tender Mercies from the Midwest Food Bank
Tender Mercies Meal
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3 Comments

  1. Beautiful lesson. Leading by example, first your pastor’s challenge and then at home. GREAT MATH! The slightly overdone cookies from the neighbor made me smile. I give the best ones away and eat/keep the burnt ones. I haven’t made chocolate chip cookies in literally years. I used to make them quite often. I’ve been thinking about making them again though, and whenever I do, I give them away to the neighbors too. I also have a neighbor who always shares with us (and I may have eaten all the cookies when she brought them over a month ago…honest…and not all at once).

  2. Angel this is so timely! I am in the midst of a study ( really more than a study – a life change and perspective shifter ) by Jen Hatmaker called ” 7 A Mutiny Against Excess” with two other friends (Google it and read what the book is all about- not enough space here. )! . The book is so good that we decided to meet and do the study together. I will be passing this blog along to them and I would love to get together with you just to talk more and share what heart changes are happening. We just met again on Monday and actually used the very words “ignorance” and “insulated”! And we have definitely felt incapacitated but because this book gives actual suggestions like your pastor did, we are moving into being the hands and feet of. Jesus!

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