An earthquake recently hit the nation of Haiti 128 km west of Port au Prince. It registered 7.2 on the scale. One report I read stated that shortages of food are in worse supplies since the quake occurred. The quake only acerbated the needs for food, since “…1.1 million people in Haiti were already estimated to be one step from starvation.” It was stated that many struggle every day to get enough food.
I have seen that fact myself.
About nine years ago, I went on a mission trip to Port au Prince, Haiti, with a church group from Martinsburg, W.Va. Our daughter-in-law, Holly, had told us that after her first trip there that she cried over a week when she returned home concerning the living conditions and needs the Haitian people have.
About mid-week, our group rented an old school bus to drive to a ministry at one of the churches about twenty miles away. The night before we packed up a large number of five-pound packages of beans and rice. The church building to which we drove was situated half way up a large hillside. What I remember is how sparse of vegetation there was. But, there were many people who lived on that hillside, too. At best, their houses were merely poorly constructed huts.
We had a church service to which so many from on that hillside attended. After the service, we invited the people to the platform to receive a five-pound bag of beans and rice. It was a dramatic moment from where I sat. Each of their faces emoted much thankfulness when they received one of those bags.
But, that one gentleman — I still get emotional when I think about it — that one gentleman, when he took that five pound bag of beans and rice into his hands, raised that five pound bag of beans and rice over his head, and he started cheering loudly, and he danced joyfully — for a long time — because, in that moment, he had enough food to feed his family for a day! His family would not go without food that day! Hunger in his family would at least be slated for that day! Oh, how thankful he was for only a five-pound bag of beans and rice. The image of this man and his expression of thankfulness has been set in my memory.
This is not a message urging support of food programs for Haiti or anywhere in the world. It is not a message that decries the abundances of foods we have here in the United States.
But, it is a message / reminder how imperative it is to give God thanks for the food we have each day. The Psalmist wrote, “Bless the Lord…who satisfies your mouth with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”
When I was a kid, Mom fed us pinto beans for a supper meal, and then the same thing for leftovers the following three nights for supper. After four meals straight of pinto beans, I dared raise a complaint, “Beans. Beans. Beans. I’m tired of having to eat beans!” My dad slowly laid his spoon in the bowl, and then he proceeded to give me a stern verbal dressing down about complaining about the abundant food that had been placed in front of me. He emphasized that I should be thankful to God for it. Furthermore, if I was going to not be thankful, I could just leave it and not have anything at all to eat for supper that night. Because I was hungry, I changed my attitude rather quickly. Perhaps many of you learned the same type of lesson back in the day.
But, wonder if it was a lesson that had to be learned because our food supplies were so very short on a daily basis like it most certainly is in Haiti, or other parts of the world, today? Regardless, no matter what it is, we should give God thanks for His provision of it to us.
“Having food…let us therewith be content.” And, also, thankful.
Pastor Ron Branch lives in Mason County and is pastor of Hope Baptist Church, Middleport, Ohio. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author.