One Sunday my husband was speaking at a nearby church. The people invited us to stay for the dinner that would follow. When I saw someone haul out a large basket and place it at the exit into the hallway, I wondered if maybe they were planning for an unusually large offering. 🙂
But after the ending “Amen,” of the service, everyone started taking off their shoes and socks and putting them in that basket. That’s when we knew this would be a dinner unlike any we had ever attended. God was preparing us for some barefoot blessings.
We had viewed a short video clip moments earlier which clued us to what would soon follow. One of the most glaring facts shared: “The average American woman has 27 pairs of shoes in her closet.”
After removing our shoes, we followed others through the dimly lit hallway to the fellowship hall. But instead of walking barefoot on a cool tile or carpeted floor, we had to maneuver through an uncomfortable walkway filled with dirt and pebbles. Ouch! We heard several complaining as we all crunched barefoot through the littered hallway to our prepared dinner. Hmm.
Once we arrived at the fellowship hall, someone handed each person a small bowl half-filled with vegetable soup, a bite-sized chunk of bread, and a cup of water without ice. No utensils. No napkins. And no air conditioning. On a Texas day outside where you could probably fry an egg on the sidewalk, at almost 105 degrees, the heat inside that room rose rapidly.
The bread worked as a semi-useful utensil for a few bites. But after that, we had a challenge. Have you ever tried to make your tongue a spoon when you’re scooping up vegetables into your mouth? When we finished, another instructed us to scrape out anything left in the bowl, discard our cups, and wash our bowls. Two large communal tubs and a dishrag sat on a table at the front where we lined up to wash and rinse our bowls. A jar on the counter held dollars and dimes–anything we wanted to contribute.
A Live Demonstration
Not exactly a feast. But then neither is it a banquet for hundreds of preschool children daily in Africa. A children’s leader explained the reason for our meal and the surrounding atmosphere. Instead of just teaching about missions, the church was demonstrating the only meal that a typical African preschool child would eat in a day–and the conditions involved. Most have no shoes.
The money given that day would buy supplies for a particular preschool in Africa the leaders had designated. Did you know it only takes an average of twenty-nine dollars a year for a typical African child to attend preschool, where they are fed one small bowl of soup? I wondered if that included shoes. Probably not.
We left filled with barefoot blessings–not full with food, but with the assurance that God was there that day–and with a new awareness that we have so much–too much. And that we all can share our blessings more.
What can you do to help those in need, particularly children? The opportunities are endless, even here in our own country. Samaritan’s Purse is a well-known ministry that touches children around the world.
Can’t find the extra to share? Here’s a place to start:
Finding the Extra to Share Our Blessings
Go through your closet. Keep only those things you’ve worn in the last six months. How many articles of clothing do we really need? Give away or sell the rest.
Each time you buy something, get rid of something else.
At least one day a week, eat only one bowl of soup. Estimate the money you would have spent for the other two meals and give it to feed a child who eats only that every day, year around.
God says we have enough! Enough for our own needs (I suspect most of us move way beyond that) and more than enough to share our blessings with others. He is able to provide all of that.
I think it’s time for me to give away some shoes in my closet.
“God loves it when the giver delights in the giving. God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you’re ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done” (2 Corinthians 9:7-8 MSG)
What can we do to encourage a child today? What can we do or give away to make a difference? How can we share our blessings with others?