Gratitude Day 586
Isaiah 58:7 – Share your food with the hungry! Provide for the homeless and bring them into your home! Clothe the naked! Don’t turn your back on your own flesh and blood!
One of the challenges in being home so much and working from home?
The kitchen is just a few steps away from desk.
In our previous house, my desk was literally five steps from the refrigerator. Hubby Rick often commented that he was surprised I had as much restrain as I did … and didn’t open camp out in front of the fridge more than I did.
At least in this house, I get a little “exercise” by walking down the 17 steps that are just four steps from my desk. After I walk through two rooms to get to the kitchen, right there in front of me is this refrigerator that is never less than half full. Just a couple more steps and I can open the door to our pantry, which always has more food in it than I think there should be. (Yes, I am the one who puts 99% of the food in the pantry.)
Most of us can’t remember a time in recent history when food was scarce or unabundant. Unless this was our choice. Most of us have more than enough food in out houses to make it to Easter. Yet, the majority of us will go grocery shopping at least once between now and then.
But it isn’t this way for everyone. Maybe we remember those days when we had to stretch our food dollars and quarters as far as we could. If you are in this situation right now, there is no shame in it. Sometimes, people struggle. After a year of a pandemic, we are certainly more aware that there are some folks who have a lot more food insecurity than most of us experience.
Let me be clear. Food insecurity is real. This past week, the school asked if our weekend food program might have some additional treats that we could drop off with the weekend food bags. Yes, our volunteers boxed up some additional treats that we could quickly get to the school. I’m not sure exactly why they needed them. I do know they only ask because there seriously is a need. This is enough for me.
We are able to quickly provide snacks because our Blessings program has received so many extra donations this last year. With additional awareness of food scarcity, those who can have made additional donations. The local food pantry has experienced this same generosity. Our Blessings program and food pantry are deeply appreciative. Every little bit makes a difference.
As part of our Lenten journey today, I’m encouraging us to be generous with those who are struggling right now. Sometime today, look inside of your pantry. Pull out your favorite items, the very ones you might use for dinner tonight. Grab a bag and put them in the bag. Then, determine a time when you will drop them off at your local food pantry or some other place that assists food with food insecurity.
That’s right. PULL OUR YOUR FAVORITE ITEMS. Most of us pull out that jar of beets that’s been hanging around too long. Or the least favorite flavor of Jell-O or pudding we have. We keep the good stuff for ourselves. Until today. Today, we’re giving away the best things … not our leftovers.
Here are a few other suggestions that you could choose to do as well:
- Go to the grocery store and purchase items that you would want to get at a food pantry. Each time I do this with our nieces or nephews or grandkids, I find it so interesting what they pick out. I let them get whatever they want. I LOVE hearing their thought processes behind what they choose. It’s a lesson that never grows old.
- Contact your food pantry and see what perishable products would be helpful. Arrange a time to drop them off because, well, they are perishable. We have donated milk and cheese. Last spring, we donated a lot of cheese. In fact, so much we had to order it from an area cheese factory. Because we were using it as a donation to a food pantry, they gave us a good price. I just had to pick it up and deliver it. More importantly? The folks who visited the food pantry LOVED IT. Or so we were told!
- Think of non-food items that you could donate: laundry soap, dish soap, diapers, wipes, sanitizer, toilet paper. Folks need these items as well. These items are not donated as often. Check and make sure your pantry accepts them.
- Purchase a couple gift cards from your local grocery store and give to people who are struggling right now. It is amazing how something like a $10 or $20 gift card will lifts a person’s spirits.
This Lenten season, I have encouraged us to think less about sacrificing our stuff and more about surrendering our souls to Jesus. Today’s exercise may feel more like giving away stuff. Here’s the difference. When we give the things that aren’t our leftovers but our first overs (the things that we’d REALLY like to keep), it shifts our perspective. Hopefully, it helps us see this as more of a surrender and less of cleaning out the pantry.
Of course, how we go about this makes all the difference as well. When we see feeding those in need as feeding God’s children, it draws us into a new level of understanding of why we do something. Yes, we do this to love our neighbor AND to love God. And this my friends, is a surprisingly good way to follow Jesus this Lent.
For a shift in how I love my neighbors, I am grateful.
Lord God – As Jesus taught us, we are called to love our neighbor in ways that helps them in the most basic of ways. Sometimes, we withhold our assistance because we feel they should be helping themselves. Today, may I take a different attitude. A different approach. May I see this less about what I’m doing for someone else and more about how my heart goes about serving those in need. May I see this as a lesson for me to grow by sharing something that maybe beyond my normal range. Stretch me, O God. Challenge me to grow. Amen.
Stop by diannedeatonvielhuber on Instagram today for a few more thoughts about today’s Lenten topic.
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