Saturday, October 13, 2012

Bean Soup Project

I volunteer with a group of ladies to provide events for women at my local church. These annual events are filled with fun activities, shopping, a little bit of pampering, and of course food. It is such a joy to see the many women who attend these events and to hear the laughter, the chatting, and the fun they have with friends and family.

This year I thought it would be good to add a service project of some sort. I didn’t know what, but I felt it might just be a great addition to this event, especially since our church strives to be an externally focused church.

With Fiesta Night as a theme, we decided to prepare Mexican soup mixes to give to local families in our community at Christmas. I found the recipe, calculated how much soup ingredients to purchase for 1,000 bags of soup mix, and then left the project in capable hands while I went on a two week vacation, followed by a two week service trip.

While I was away, ingredients were purchased (pounds and pounds and even more pounds of beans), soup seasoning packets were prepared, and other items gathered to pull this project together. I must say a big thank you to Kim and Jodie for all the work they did in order to make it the success it was.

Yes it was a success. The women who attended the event last night were thrilled to be able to do something for others. That room was busy during the entire event. People raved about how good it was to do something for others. And even when the beans ran out, they asked to be called when more beans were purchased so that the project could be finished.

It brought joy to my heart! Yes, the women enjoyed all the fun the evening offered, but they also thought of others. Others less fortunate. And they also were willing to do something about it. Prepare soup mixes.

God filled His Word with examples of those who shared with other less fortunate. We should see these examples and know that we are to do the same.

Acts 9:36 (NIV) speaks of Tabitha. “In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which, when translated, is Dorcas), who was always doing good and helping the poor.” Her life mission was to help others. When she died, the poor felt helpless. But Peter entered the scene and miraculously brought her back to life. Once again, the poor of her community would be blessed by this woman.

When Paul was accepted by the other Apostles, they asked him to “remember the poor, the very thing he was eager to do.” (Galatians 2:10 – NIV) Paul knew the importance of providing for the poor. He was concerned for their souls, but he was also concerned for their physical well-being.

The early church showed this same compassion. In Acts 2:44-45 (NIV), we see their response to the needy. “All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.”

In 1 John 3:17 (NIV), John shares why we should give. “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?” God’s love cannot be seen in those who do not give to those in need. I don’t know about you, but I want God’s love to shine through me. That means we must share with those in need.

There are other passages of Scripture that command us to be kind, compassionate, and generous.

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32 – NIV)

“Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.” (1 Timothy 6:18 – NIV)

And in Ephesians 4:28 (NIV), Paul encourages those who had been stealing to find something useful to do with their hands so “that he may have something useful to share with those in need.”

So you see we are to care for those less fortunate than ourselves. It might be difficult in our world today, but still, we must make an effort to find our own plan of action for this group of people. And as in all things, we must do so in love.

The bean soup project was a success. But I ask you, how is your local church reaching out to the poor of your community? If nothing, why not step up and start something. If there is already a program, why not join the cause. Get involved. You will find that you will be blessed far more than expected.

Grace and peace be yours in abundance,


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