Rice Bowl Initiative
By Mike Stickler
Leviticus 5: 7, 11
7 “‘Anyone who cannot afford a lamb is to bring two doves or two young pigeons to the Lord as a penalty for their sin—one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering.
11 “‘If, however, they cannot afford two doves or two young pigeons, they are to bring as an offering for their sin a tenth of an ephah of the finest flour for a sin offering. They must not put olive oil or incense on it, because it is a sin offering.
My friend, who happens to be the coordinator for the Generosity Initiative for the Lausanne Committee, was telling me the other day about the Rice Bowl Initiative in India. Most of you reading this devotional have never really lived anything like what I’m about to describe.
The vast majority of people in India are poor beyond any notion of ‘poor’ that you and I might imagine. Where people in most developing countries make about $1 a day, those in India live, sometimes, on far less. As a Christian, the daily provision can divide even further.
Imagine that: As hard as you might work, your entire family must sustain itself on a bowl of rice, a few herbs, and some fish broth, each day. Not per person. Collectively. Yet you’re commanded by scripture to give to those who are needy.
At this point, you and I would not think there would be anyone more needy. Yet there are. There are the elderly, affirmed, blind, and disabled who are living there. These resort to prostitution or begging to survive.
And from whom do they beg? From the family with one bowl of rice among their family members.
Can you feel the utter desperation here?
But there is a ‘Rice Bowl Initiative’ that has risen up within the Church in India.
The Christian Church has decided to be obedient and share what little they have with those who have even less. They have committed to taking 1/10 of what God has provided for them‒a tablespoon of uncooked rice from each meal‒which goes into a jar. Then the jar is brought to their church where it’s combined with other church members’ jars of rice to make a ‘rice bank.’ From this rice bank, the church elders distribute to those in more desperate situations.
It seems that God has supernaturally blessed this endeavor. As families bring in their contributions and empty them into the container for the poorest of poor, that container never seems to empty! It’s the ‘loaves and fishes’ in action. No matter how many scoops are taken out from the leaders to distribute to the poor, the level remains the same. This simple act of generosity is miraculously building the faith of the faithful. That faith leads to the sharing of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and revival is breaking out throughout India as thousands come to the Lord there.
So no matter how little you think you have, scripture still asks us to give. I would suspect none of us reading these devotionals could not give even more generously than those in India.
Today’s Generosity Challenge:
What could be your Rice Bowl Initiative?
What little that you do have could be given to those less fortunate?
Who could you get others to share in this endeavor with you?
Share your plan here. Then go do it.
About Michael Stickler
Mike is an author, radio host, and a highly sought after motivational speaker. His best-selling book, A Journey to Generosity, is widely acclaimed throughout the Christian community. He is the publisher of Generous Living Magazine and writes for the Christian Post, 'A Generous Life' column.