I was sitting at a cafe table in front of an ice cream shop within walking distance from our house. It was a lovely summer evening with the long, late rays of sun painting the world golden. I was licking away at the drips sliding down the cone of my lemon sorbet and thinking of how refreshing this was, how delightfully tangy. But suddenly I stopped in mid lick and decided I had had enough.
My friend asked me, “Are you full already?”
I paused, thought, and responded, “No, I’m just tired of that flavor.” My taste buds were bored already.
When I said it, I realized what a privileged and extravagant attitude that was. I’m bored with this food. This food no longer entertains my mouth.
Here in Costa Rica people eat rice and beans almost every day. They joke that if you want some variety to your rice and beans, you can have beans and rice. And if you’re really wild and crazy, you can mix the rice and beans! I can’t imagine eating that way, eating the same foods day in and day out. We have 4 different kinds of cereal in our cabinet because no one likes to eat the same cereal every morning! Imagine eating something as bland as rice and beans for your whole life!
We have hosted 8 teams this summer and one of the hardest things about the logistics of team hosting is feeding them 3 times a day. Americans don’t like to eat the same thing every day. And Americans don’t want to repeat the same TYPE of food too many times in the week either. We get bored with the same food all the time.
So every day Josh and I have to think about our schedule with the team. We think about where we are going to be when a meal time comes around. What restaurants are around that can feed so many people at once? What restaurants are within their budget and WHAT HAVEN’T THEY EATEN YET? Seriously, Americans will complain if the food is repetitive.
Many years ago we took a team of our youth kids on a missions trip to Utah, traveling by car and vans. To save money, we planned sandwiches and basic home-made lunches that we could make on the side of the road. No joke, TEN YEARS LATER those kids still remind us of how sick and tired they were of eating sandwiches every day for lunch!!! No one remembers any of the ministry we did, any of the sites we saw in Yellowstone National Park, or anyone who gave their life to Jesus… but they all remember the crappy lunches we ate.
We get bored with our food. Imagine that. The entertainment value of our food determines the quantity of food we consume while half the world goes to bed hungry every night. That’s just not right. And I am as guilty as you are. When I decided I was done with my lemon sorbet, I really did look around to see if there were any starving Chinese kids standing around who I could give it to. But there were none, so I threw it away.
But I thought about how many Moms scold their family’s wastefulness with the line, “Eat your food, there are starving children in China who would love to have what you have!” If I ever figure out how to send ice cream to China, I’ll let you know. But in the meantime, we should all think more about why we put food into our mouths and what is our attitude towards our food. Are we genuinely thankful for not just our Daily Bread which Father God provides, but for the abundance of food we have access to, or are we picky and only seeking to entertain our taste buds.
Proverbs 30:8 “… Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread.” Is that truly our attitude and prayer?