02 Apr Rice & Beans Week 5: Gratitude
You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. (II Corinthians 9:11)
Generosity Begins in a Grateful Heart
I didn’t know my neighbor Sally well, but I knew she was a single mom who had recently landed a job paying barely over minimum wage. I cringed inside when she asked, “Does your church support needy families?”
Here it comes, I thought. She’ll ask for something, and I’ll have to disappoint her. Our little church just doesn’t keep a lot of cash on hand. But I was wrong.
“I’d like to help them,” Sally continued. “I’m so thankful for my job, I want to share what I can.”
Sally’s words humbled me. I’d been worrying about how we would cover our mortgage, the cable, the iPhones, the soccer and baseball and piano and summer camp. From our middle-class perspective, there was never enough for what we thought we needed. Right around the corner lived someone with far fewer resources, concerned about those who had even less.
People like Sally are generous because they know what a difference a little can make. I count up the extra I might squeeze out of our monthly budget and conclude, this won’t help anyone. Sally considers a much smaller offering, and knows from experience it may be just enough to get someone out of a tight spot.
The beauty of eating rice and beans is this: not only do we save some money that we can share with others, but we experience what it’s like to live on less. Our mouths learn what poverty tastes like. Our bellies understand that a few extra dollars for a piece of meat would be a real luxury. We learn to regard the poor not just with sympathy, but empathy.
Six weeks of rice and beans reveals the richness of our standard fare. We can stop worrying about what we don’t have, and start being thankful for what we do. We can loosen our grasp and begin to share.
In Christ, we have been enriched in every way. Not just finances, but love, forgiveness, and all the promises of God. May we trust that there will always be enough, so that we can always be generous.
Sarah Sanderson, Writer & Speaker
Oak Hills Church in Milwaukie, Oregon
East Africa Connection
We give out of gratitude, and as the verse above says, our giving results in even more gratitude! Watch the short video “Thank You From The Kids” at eatriceandbeans.com/video, to see some of that gratitude in real life. Our small gifts make a huge difference!
Gratitude is one of the spiritual riches imparted to us through this Lenten Rice & Beans experience. Gratitude not only changes the way we give, it can transform our perspective on every area of life if we let it.
Reflect on the daily reading, closing with the prayer below
Monday: I Chronicles 16:28-36
Tuesday: Psalm 107:1-9
Wednesday: Psalm 136:1-26
Thursday: Luke 17:11-19
Friday: Colossians 3:15-17
Saturday: I Thessalonians 5:12-18
Our loving and generous God, use this Lenten season to cultivate gratitude in our hearts for all that you are, for all that you do, for all the gifts you so graciously give to us. As our thankfulness overflows into giving, we confess that you are worthy of our worship, our sacrifice, and our love. Amen.