Many of you may know that in early June Children's Hope Chest held a campaign to raise money to feed people in a district of Uganda where they were literally eating termites and cow dung they were so hungry. The end result was that $20,000 was raised thanks to so many of you who participated and gave generously and sacrificially. At $.14 a meal that's a lot of people who are receiving much needed nourishment! Thank you to everyone who prayed and donated.
For me, this ended up being more than just a campaign to raise money to do something good and help people who needed it. I realized something huge - at least to me it was huge.
I learned the difference between giving out of my abundance and giving sacrificially. I don't think anyone would argue that when we give financially it feels good. I actually think it feels great! But what I realized during "Feed the Forgotten" was that I generally always give out of my abundance. Don't get me wrong - there's nothing wrong with giving out of our abundance! But when I give out of my abundance I generally don't miss out on anything that I have come to rely or count on in my lifestyle. I still have money to buy that something I've been eyeing for a while and I still eat out when I like etc. Realizing that $.14 could feed a person who is literally dying of starvation changed my perspective on things. I began to imagine what it would look like for me to really start sacrificing things in my own life so that others could literally LIVE. It was great that my $10 could provide 71 meals. I could have settled for that and felt really good. But $10 wasn't a sacrifice for me (for some people it is!). I felt compelled to give until I noticed that I was missing something - until it became hard.
So, I thought about trying the idea of swapping something and giving the money I would have spent to "Feed The Forgotten". I went to get my hair cut and instead of getting highlights like usual, I didn't. Um, yeah...I'm embarrassed to admit that the money I saved on my highlights fed 285 people a meal. I'm reminded every morning I do my hair and see my roots growing out that there's absolutely no reason I can't forgo highlights for the rest of my life if it means someone else gets to eat and not suffer. The money we saved on a babysitter fed 214 people meals. The money we saved by not going out to eat for dinner ONCE fed 321 people meals. That just floors me!! Hmm...wonder what might happen if I give up going out to eat more often? I don't say this in a "look what i did" sort of way - I say it in a "Oh my goodness why am I not doing this every month" sort of way.
Had I simply given out of my abundance and not given sacrificially I would have missed out on the reminder that I can make a difference by simply giving up something (in my case they were all small things - nothing huge). I am amazed by how much difference so little can make in someone's life. Honestly, I was already processing through how I spend money, why i spend money etc., but this period of two weeks helped confirm for me what I feel to be true - when I give sacrificially it not only does something good for someone else, but it feeds my soul. It connects me more fully to the God who sacrificed His own Son for me. There is truly a joy that flows out of putting other people's needs before my own. It's the same joy that my little six year old daughter felt when she emptied her piggy bank of her own accord to buy mosquito nets for kids in Africa (her ridiculous mom tried to get her to just keep a little of it for herself rather than giving it all away. When will I learn??). It's the same joy that Jesus must have had when He served "the least of these". Scripture says that for the JOY set before Him, He endured the cross - the ultimate sacrifice.
All I know is that if my heart is broken by the thought of these precious Ugandan children so hungry they don't even have energy to cry, how much more must God's heart be broken. What I saw over the two weeks we did "Feed The Forgotten" was that there are people who are in touch with this part of God's heart. There are people who are willing to give. There are people who are not ignoring the cries of the hungry. There are people SACRIFICING in very real ways so that their brothers and sisters can have something to eat. I am so encouraged. I am changed. And I am so thankful that God chooses to use us, His children to accomplish His purposes in this world. I am looking forward to seeing what God has in store for those of us who will press into giving more like our Savior - completely, with abandon and with great joy.
If you helped "Feed The Forgotten" I would love to hear how it impacted you. Please comment!