Identification, please.

Will you join us in the Rice & Beans Extravaganza?

It’s an extravaganza of LOVE!

Identification with someone in crisis or pain is heightened when we ourselves have experienced the same type of pain.

For those of us who have had cancer or who have had loved ones who have had cancer, we immediately empathize when we hear the “C” word.  For those of us who have lost a parent, a spouse, a sibling or a child, we immediately identify with the grief someone else experiences when their loved one dies.

And until we have experienced a specific grief ourselves, we generally don’t understand it or identify with it in the same we do once we have experienced it.

Not many of us are hungry, uneducated, sick with no medical care, or orphaned.  That type of grief is just incomprehensible for most of us.

So how do we experience poverty in the midst of a land of plenty?  How do we identify?  The truth is, identification increases our sympathy and our active, responsive love.

The leadership in Nkumba (Uganda), all of the students, and everyone on the food program are now eating maize and beans at their two daily meals.  Before food prices climbed so high, they had more variety and were able to do a little more supplementation.  But because they don’t close their doors to those in need, and because of rising food costs, that is what they eat.  Not because they love maize and beans…but because it’s cheap.

A basin of cooked Maize

A basin of cooked maize (posho)

No juice, no milk, no soda, no starbucks.  No bread, no peanut butter, no jelly, no meat, no fruit, no vegetables, no dessert, no eating out.  Not even rice…it’s too expensive.  Incomprehensible, right?

So here’s the Rice & Bean Extravaganza of Love:  Eat rice and beans, and drink water only, at every meal for a full 7 days.  Here’s the top 10 reasons to do so:

10. At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality.* 2 Corinthians 8:14

9. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.  I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:12-13

20 pound bag of rice- $8

20 pound bag of rice- $8

8.  Giving is fun.  It is more blessed to give than to receive.  Acts 20:35

7.  I (Jesus) have compassion on the crowd…and I am unwilling to send them away hungry… Matthew 15:32

6. And he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. 2 Corinthians 5:15

5.  We will likely Remember The Poor every time we eat. Galatians 2:10

4. For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. Galatians 5:13

3. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 2 Corinthians 4:17

2.  Whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord. Ephesians 6:8

1. A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love on another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”John 13:34-35

Identification = LOVE

Christ was the ultimate example of identification, who because of His great love for us, gave up the glory of Heaven and identified completely with us, becoming human.  (Philippians 2:7-8)

5 pound bag of pinto beans- $6.50

5 pound bag of pinto beans- $6.50

In a book published by Voice of the Martyrs, Mrs. Nguyen wrote of her husband’s persecution in Vietnam.  During his imprisonment, she was allowed to take food to him twice a month.  She said, “The children and I saved the best food for him.  We ate simple things.”  That’s what Love does.

*If a family has a grocery budget of $400/mo, they could save about $85 eating rice and beans for a week. If a family eats out during a normal week, they might save even more! $85 is enough to feed 5 children for an entire month.  Or if 120 families participate, it would be enough to put up a chicken coop and cow stable on the new farm.

The point is not that the money you save and give go to Uganda.  You may support orphans in India or China or you may support indigenous pastors who take the gospel into nations yet unreached with the good news of Christ’s salvation.  The point is that God is glorified as needs are met.

For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. By their approval of this service, they will glorify God… 2 Corinthians 9:12-13

Alex Kaggwa (at age 19) and Seggy

Alex Kaggwa (at age 19) and Seggy- went to be with Jesus April 3, 2008

It’s not complicated and saves time (cook once and put the rice and beans in the frig for the week).  It’s a great conversation starter at work or school or if you happen to have guests for dinner.  It will reduce all of our future complaining (!) and will give us new appreciation for what we may take for granted.

And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. Luke 9:23

I have come that they may have life and have it to the full! John 10:10

Jesus made both of these statements, and they are not in conflict with one another. What if the key to unlocking this full life is found in denying ourselves–our selfishness?  What if that is the very reason Christ said what He did?  Not to make life miserable for us, but to give us joy unimaginable…deep, resonating satisfaction of the soul.

Will you do us the kindness of e-mailing us if you want to eat beans and rice with us during the week of January 25-31? (Or you can pick another week if that week doesn’t work for you.)  We’d like to communicate with those who will be participating in “the extravaganza.”

Is there any reason this couldn’t be done once a month?  Imagine…

This entry was posted in 1. Bookmark the permalink.