Round 2: the shopping trip

April 12, 2010

our menu for the week

Wow, here we go again!  We have been so encouraged, challenged, and inspired by others who are doing the one dollar a day challenge both in North America and abroad.  Friends in Cambodia have blogged about their experience here: http://www.jet-7.net/

So, round 2.  We’re doing the challenge with our close friends, Livio and Erin.  Erin will probably be blogging about it as well, so I’ll provide a link to her site when she starts posting. We’re starting tonight, and ending next Sunday night.  Today all four of us got together in the bulk section of Superstore and selected what we would need for the week.  We have a bit more variety this time around, learning from last time that we didn’t need as much rice as we had thought and some flavor was probably a good thing.  Getting really technical (I’m reading this off the receipt so I can remember for next time!), Ben and I ended up with 1.2 kg of brown rice, 1.1 kg of green lentils, 130 grams of red lentils, 0.5 kg of quick oats, 50 grams of cinnamon, 35 grams of chicken soup base, 2 cans of no name tomato paste, a dozen eggs, 5 lbs of carrots, and a few green onions.  It’s actually pretty incredible what you can get for under $14, if you know where to look.  Once again we watched the items go through the till with a twinge of nervousness, hoping we wouldn’t be over-budget and have to put something back.

It’s funny how our human pride is wrapped up in little things sometimes.  I thought back to times when I have measured my own self worth by expressions of wealth, such as steering clear of the “no name” brand, avoiding the bulk section because it’s less sanitary, not sticking to a rigid budget, and feeling a slight sense of embarrassment at informing the clerk, “If it’s over $14, I’ll have to put something back.”  Money makes us look accomplished, makes us seem mature, makes people think we really have life figured out.  What funny assumptions we buy into.

A friend of mine shared with me yesterday that in her days as a salesperson she once visited the home of a multi-billionaire.  She walked up the long driveway to his mansion and felt dwarfed by his massive entranceway.  Inside, she and her sales partner were amazed to see a beautiful swimming pool, grand halls with elaborate rooms, and shelves of museum-worthy antiques and artifacts — all sitting unused and unadmired.  The lonely billionaire explained that he had no family and no friends.  He could trust no one.  He had no companions except the neighbor’s cat, who came over every now and then for a dish of food and then left.  His servants and housekeepers avoided him as much as possible, taking off immediately after their work ended.  My friend said she felt a deep sadness for the man, who seemed excited that he had visitors even though they had only come to sell him something.  He had sacrificed relationships for wealth.  She walked back down that driveway with the renewed realization that she would rather have very little and be surrounded by love than own all the world and enjoy it alone.

Of course that is the extreme, but it reminded me to check myself.  Where are my priorities leading me?  If I keep walking down this path, where will I end up in ten years?  What’s the next step?

Both Ben and I are asking that question right now.  Our work has slowed down along with the economy, so we are spending more time at home praying together about what God is calling us to do — and, more importantly, who God is calling us to be, including how we should respond to the situations around us and in the world.  We want to know Jesus more, and thus to have our hearts stretched and broken for those in need, to trust God’s leading (though sometimes it may seem crazy), to refuse a life of fear.

As the Apostle Paul says:

“But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. 10I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. 12Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”  – Philippians 3:7-14

This is what Christianity is about.  Knowing Jesus.  Sharing and experiencing the abundant overflow of His love in the context of community.  Erin shared this letter with me — she found it in a book called Hungry for Life, by Dave Blundell.  (It’s a GREAT book, by the way! Definitely worth reading.  You can learn more about it by contacting the staff at http://www.hungryforlife.org) The letter is written by an advisor to the Roman Emperor in 137 A.D. and reads as follows:

“It is the Christians, O Emperor, who have sought and found the truth, for they acknowledge God. They do not keep for themselves the goods entrusted to them. They do not covet what belongs to others. They show love to their neighbors. They do not do to another what they would not wish to have done to themselves. They speak gently to those who oppress them, and in this way they make them their friends. It has become their passion to do good to their enemies. They live in the awareness of their smallness. Anyone of them who has anything gives ungrudgingly to the one who has nothing. If they see a travelling stranger, they bring him under their roof. They rejoice over him as a real brother, for they do not call one another brothers out of the flesh, but they know that they are brothers in the spirit and in God. If they hear that one of them is imprisoned or oppressed for the sake of Christ, they take care of all his needs. If possible, they set him free. If anyone among them is poor or comes into want while they themselves have nothing to spare, they fast two or three days for him. In this way they can supply any poor man with the food he needs. This O Emperor, is the rule of life of the Christians, and this is their manner of life.”  (Aristides, In the Meantime, 2009; quoted in Hungry for Life, p. 62)

Wow.  That’s the fruit of lives transformed by the Living Christ.  Lord, transform us with Your love.

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2 Responses to “Round 2: the shopping trip”

  1. Erin Santarossa said

    take your part in suffering, as a loyal soldier of Christ Jesus. 2 timothy 2:3

    but the joy that you have given me is more than they will ever have with all their grain and wine.
    psalms 4:7

    my mind and my body may grow weak, but God is my strength; He is all I ever need. psalms 73:26

    Thanks for your encouragement Vanessa!!! great picture 🙂

  2. onedollaradaychallenge said

    Thanks Erin!

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