But indulge me a couple more posts – after all, it’s not every day I read a book which changes my life. In fact, it’s not every day I read a book.
After reading about Sabbath rest in the final chapter of Seven, I read Leviticus and was reminded of the ‘Sabbath year‘. The Israelites were to work the fields for six years, then during the seventh year they were to kick back and live off what God had given them, through their hard work for the previous six years. It was an exercise in trust, mainly – could they rely upon Jehovah Jireh (the God who provides) to fulfil their needs? But it also gave them a break, which God knew was important for them – after all, He’s made human beings and knows how we best function. The one-in-seven rule seems to work: it keeps us physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually healthy.
I wondered if our family could adopt – or at least experiment with – a Sabbath week. For six weeks we shop for food as normal, but in the seventh week we buy no food at all. We live on what we already have. We find inventive ways of using leftover food – or eat plain rice and remember those who get no variety in their diet. We save the ‘best’ meals for when friends come round. We prioritise the kids, even if it means that Al and I have to go without – and, as we fast, we pray for those who regularly sacrifice food so that their kids can eat.
This idea was born during the week commencing March 18th, so that means we’ve had six weeks of normal food shopping, and our very first Sabbath week begins tomorrow, April 29th. It will be an exercise in trust, and will give us a rest from the (often time-consuming) jobs of planning meals, writing lists and buying food. It will also give our bank balance a rest – an important chance for our finances to ‘breathe’ and perhaps be released for other uses. It will reduce unnecessary food waste in our household.
Here are a few guidelines. They’re not ‘rules’ as such but bear in mind I’m Queen of the Get-Out Clause. If we had no boundaries, within a day I’d be buying Double Deckers by the multipack, and claiming they didn’t count as ‘food’. I’m also an avid list-maker, so bullet points kind of make my day.
* apart from milk and a joint for Sunday, both of which we bought last week and froze, we haven’t deliberately stocked up on food, either by buying more or batch-cooking (the joint might seem a little extravagant…but in my year of celebration, Sunday roasts are becoming very important – look out for a future blog post on them!)
* if there’s not enough for us all, Al and I will go without – but we’ll never let our kids go hungry. If we actually have no food for them, we’ll buy some.
* Al’s job includes lots of coffee drinking with students. We’ve agreed he can still buy drinks if for work purposes, but no food.
* we can eat food bought for us (and will try our hardest not to go round begging at our friends’ doors like paupers)
I’ll be blogging our experiences!
* Are your kitchen cupboards groaning like ours are?!
* What are your views on over-consumption? Is it a problem, or should we just relax and enjoy ourselves?