From the richest to the poorest, no one would question that 3.5 billon, which is half the world’s population, is a HUGE number. However, we may not all (all 6.7 billion of us) as easily agree on the significance of two dollars. Why? …Because half the world’s population eats on less than two dollars a day.
Two dollars? …Sound like a lot? Not to me…Which is why I knew I needed to do the challenge.
The challenge: For five days, eat as half the world’s population eats—on less than two dollars a day. For me this meant that I ate a small bowl of oatmeal for breakfast, a small bowl of rice and beans for lunch and dinner, and drank only tap water…for five days.
Focusing on the needs of the under resourced is not new to me. I’ve seen the pictures, read the statistics, and witnessed the need (aiding it when I could). For two years (just before I moved to Deerfield) I worked in downtown San Antonio, just around the corner from the Alamo. Every weekday I walked passed homeless people. I learned to pack snacks for myself and for others. Helping others is not a foreign concept…feeling helpless and in need of life’s basic necessities was definitely a new experience.
“How does a person who eats such a humble and meager meal understand God’s love? “ I asked myself many times last week. I also had to remind myself that this challenge was someone’s reality. As easily as I choose to eat rice and beans, I could choose to eat steak and potatoes.
The challenge allowed me to stand in solidarity with my church and men, women, and children who eat meager meals every day. It provided an opportunity stand to beside God and agree that these men, women, and children are worthy. They matter. Bibles verses like the Isaiah 58:6-7 and Matthew 25:35-36 came alive.
Does it matter? YES. We may not completely understand a need or be able to name who is in need, but that is okay. God knows the need and the name. He accepts fill-in-the-blank-prayers as eagerly as we accept blank checks. All he desires is a broken and contrite heart, someone who believes that the need is significant and the needed is worthy...someone with a heart that is humbly poured out.
Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? (Isaiah 58:6–7)
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. (Matthew 25:35–36)