Right, so we’ve just come to the end of our second Sabbath week (follow the link if you have no idea what I’m on about, then check out subsequent Sabbath week updates for more details). I kept it quiet to avoid sabotage, so here’s my all-in-one report on how it went.
Our last Sabbath week got me thinking about God’s generosity. So this time, I set myself a challenge. Not only would our family not buy any food or drink for the week, but we would aim to share our food with at least one other person every day during the week. Guess what? We managed it!
Sunday – six friends came for lunch;
Monday – I provided cake and snacks for my Belfrey group;
Tuesday – I took cake along to Tuesday Tots;
Wednesday – we contributed juice and cocktail sausages to the launch party of our church’s new youth and children’s basement;
Thursday – my friend’s little girl joined us for lunch; Desert Dad had a friend round for dinner;
Friday – Mister had a friend for tea; two of our friends came for dinner later;
Saturday – we had a picnic with friends: we shared our fruit and cookies;
Sunday – Desert Dad took cake along to a lunch meeting;
Guess what else happened? On pretty much every day, someone else shared food with us.
Monday – my friend had me and the kids round for lunch;
Tuesday – I went out for a curry…”WHAT??!!” (Before you accuse me of all sorts of hypocrisy, let me explain that it was a Tuesday Tots Mums’ Social. So, basically, it was business. I may have had fun, and the meal may have been delicious, but that is not the point. It was entirely self-sacrificial.)
Wednesday – we ate others’ food at the launch party;
Thursday – I had dinner at a friend’s house;
Sunday – Desert Dad enjoyed lunch that others had brought to the meeting.
So, essentially, I was intrigued by the number of opportunities for sharing food which are presented by a typical week. My lifestyle wasn’t always like this, and it may be that yours currently isn’t. But isn’t it interesting that when we share, we end up with more than enough? (I haven’t yet said it, but you may have already guessed that we didn’t starve during Sabbath week.)
Recently, I was thinking about the story where Jesus feeds 5,000 with just the packed lunch of a young boy. What struck me was this: presumably that boy ended up eating more than what he’d brought with him that day – five loaves and two fish. Of course we know nothing about what his appetite was doing that day – apart from a decent guess that, as a growing boy, he could probably get through a hefty amount of grub – but certainly we know for sure that there was the potential for him to have eaten more than he brought, because of the twelve baskets of leftovers. Essentially, God’s economy seems to be saying that when we share, we all end up with more. God hasn’t designed us to be people who hoard (Matthew 6:19) and think only about themselves, but people who are community-minded, consider others better than themselves (Philippians 2:3-4) and continually give to others as and when they have need (Acts 4:32-35).
Am I living this sort of life?
Hmmm. While I’m pondering that one, here are some other Sabbath week highlights:
* running out of garlic, and fishing out a peeled clove in a jar of roasted peppers
* not running out of eggs, which we lacked last Sabbath week, and enjoying plenty of home-made cookies, omelettes, boiled eggs and egg-fried rice:
* finding uses for a large amount of cake left over from a party the previous Saturday
* arriving home on Tuesday to this (from our housemate – no of course it wasn’t Al, silly reader you)
* making houmus with Missy (although the associated lowlight was that neither child would touch it with a barge-pole):
* the arrival of our fruit and veg box on Friday (since last Sabbath week, we’ve started getting a veg box – it comes on Fridays so I decided to cancel it the week before Sabbath week, resulting in this bonanza at the end of our week of no food shopping)
* having enough toppings for Mister, Missy and their friend to make pizzas for their tea on Friday night
* waking up on Saturday, realising we had no bread for our picnic and no time to put the bread machine on before we had to leave – and making soda bread (which, if you’ve never tried it, is quick (like, 10 minutes quick) and yummy)
Sabbath week, for us, is not a gimmick or a one-off experiment. It’s becoming a lifestyle pattern – and I like it. I like what it does to our family. I like that there’s no hurrying about to the shops, trying to pick up bits and bobs on the way home, or being stuck in rush hour because we just had to have that for dinner. Yes, there’s planning involved, but this is done on the hoof, it doesn’t eat into our week…no pun intended. I like that Sabbath week makes me more creative with food, and shows me that actually we have plenty of food for a variety of different occasions. I like not taking for granted the variety available in the shops.
Most of all, I like how God is using these weeks to teach me more, not only about food, but about His generosity and provision. Slowly but surely, He’s shaping me into the sort of consumer he wants me to be: one who shares His values for this planet. It’s not easy – but it’s satisfying.
And I like that very much indeed. Now excuse me while I go and have my dinner of houmus, pitta, peas, tomatoes, pasta, soda bread and tuna mayonnaise.