The Impact of Excess

Wednesday night in Ocean City we went out for supper. It was a family restaurant that served a seafood buffet along with a traditional menu. Our family settled in, and after finding out that our two youngest could eat for free and Ash was the junior buffet, we ordered and promptly began filling plates. (I’m not a big buffet kind of person anyway, but the options on the traditional menu weren’t all that appetizing… then again neither is greasy food that’s been sitting under sneeze-guards.) And our plates were $30 a head. The small town girl in me cringed, but I headed over to the salad bar, because I always do salad first at a buffet. I’m not a girl of routine or anything. Not at all.

Heading back to the buffet for my main course, I looked around and it was like being hit in the face. The excess. The vast amounts of food. The plates piled with enormous portions of pastas and meats and seafood and fries and sweets. I got nauseated, and it wasn’t from my medications. I scooped on a few bites of pasta and headed back to our table in tears.

Because I thought of Mario, our little Guatamalan Compassion child. I spent $30 for one meal for myself. One meal! And that $30 would support a Compassion child for a month. I thought about how many thousands of people ate at that restaurant on that night and how many thousands of $30 could impact hurting people… not just Compassion children, (although Compassion is my soap box).

I’ve thought a lot about this lately… how do I, as Shaun Groves says “simplify my life so that others may simply live”? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

6 responses to “The Impact of Excess”

  1. I can relate with this feeling. It especially hit me after coming back from a mission trip.

    There is a flip side to this story, though. It is a worthy and noble thing to know that your $30 is providing for a BUNCH of people, from the farmer who harvested the wheat to the busboy who cleaned your table, and every person in between. Yes, you could have spent $30 to feed/educate one child for one month in South America. But instead you helped feed and educate many Americans and folks around the world who made your meal possible. You helped countless Dads and Moms feed their kids with your purchase.

    (Preaching to myself if you don’t mind!)

    The question then I guess is whether the money had as much eternal value as it might with your Compassion child. We can’t really measure that, but we can purpose in our heart to try to make every purchase count for Christ. That may be as simple as writing “Jesus loves you” on the merchant receipt, or leaving a tract with your big tip and praising the waitress in front of her manager.

    OK, so here’s a new rule of thumb…
    With moderation, make it count.

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  2. Angie,

    Working on a post on this very subject after a trip to the mall with the girls Saturday after not being to a mall for over a year–you heard me–a year! I had the same physical reaction. I have been praying a lot about it since. God has been reminding me in His word to be faithful with what He has given me–in plenty or in want–be faithful! I love you! Monica

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  3. We live in a world where almost everything is “give me give me” or “take take take”. We are blessed to live in a nation so rich and so free and it’s sad how we take things for granted and how we all can spend money without thinking twice about it. There are so many times, I walk into a store and want this or want that. Then the thought comes to my mind “do I really need this”? But I quickly disregard that question and I’m guilty of thinking only of myself and not of others. I think about how saving $5 for a cup of coffee at Starbucks can at least by me one gallon of gas, although it’s a bit trivial compared to your supporting a compassion child. What a noble thing to do, by the way. Or I think about buying $30 pair of shoes while that can to go to even our own Mercy Ministry at Cov. We live in a world where most of use take things for granted. We are richly blessed in this world we live in. Thanks for helping us see this!

    Love you,
    Becky

    P.S. On another note, it was so awesome to see you and Bri up on worship team again this past week. I was so thrilled with excitement that I cried tears of joy! I’ve missed you both so much on team. I love you guys and your talents are a great blessing to the team.

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  4. BTW, Becky and I have been sponsoring a Compassion child from Bolivia for several years, too. It’s been amazing to watch her grow, write to her and receive her letters. She was just a little tyke when we started. If anybody reading this blog ever thought of sponsoring a child, please know that you’ll never regret it.

    John

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  5. It’s encouraging to hear the comments on this subject. I’m learning a lot about making money and how sometimes, it’s really really hard work to make money. For example, at the restaurant I’m working at right now, there are a few women who came up from Mexico, to make money to support their families in Mexico. One lady in particular works like a dog….cleaning hotel rooms all morning, and then cleaning the endless number of plates and silverware that comes with a busy restaurant. b/c she literally works all day, she doesn’t usually eat or drink very much all day. Yet, if she didn’t work, her family wouldn’t eat. so she works and works.

    In the Bible study I was a part of this year, we were studying Luke. I never realized how much Luke had to say about money….it’s everywhere. But, I think I came away with the fact that money in itself is not evil. It’s just when we try to serve both God and money. Kinda basic. I know. But, atleast in my life- basic does not equate to easy. I still have a lot to learn about using my money to glorify God. from little purchases to big. I am thankful and grateful for the lessons in Luke, from this blog and thankful that I have a job, while so many people are unemployed. my prayer is for these people especially.

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  6. Our family was at McDonald’s on Sat. evening, not my resturaunt of choice, but seems to be Riley’s, as he yells, “Donnie’s” and “Fries please” every time we pass one! We had ordered our food and sat down when a middle age woman sat down in the seats beside ours. Another women came around the corner and asked her, “Aren’t you going to order?” The other woman looked down and said, “I don’t have any money to order something!” The other lady asked her what she would like and she said, “Anything would be fine!” We didn’t know her situation and you could tell when the women were eathing there was tention between them. Since Avery, 6, had heard the whole thing, he asked us as he looked down at his Happy Meal and his toy, why that lady didn’t have any money. We told him we didn’t know, but we could pray for her. We tried to find the oppotunity to give the woman some money before she left, but did not want to embarass her further and we didn’t get the chance. We did pray for her though, that night and Avery has in his prayers since. We felt so blessed as we drove home and it was a good reminder to us and our little guy that there are so many hurting people and people in need. We take so much for granted sometimes! May we never get to busy or self absorbed to notice them and to meet needs when we can! Thanks! Rochelle

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