Sunday, June 19, 2011

Dirt Biscuits and Beach Houses

I grew up poor. Though we often did not have what we "wanted," we always had what we "needed." With the help of scholarships, I worked my way through college, where I met my future wife. Through hard work, my wife and I have been able to provide a middle class lifestyle for our children. Though our children have never been rich, they have also never known the poverty I knew growing up.

This week my family is enjoying a lifestyle slightly more than middle class as we relax in a beach house for a week long family reunion with lots of relatives. Yesterday my kids and I were discussing how blessed we were to experience this level of luxury, even if only for a week. In the discussion we also talked about what it must be like for people who live in other nations in which such luxury is not possible, even for a week long vacation.

We specifically talked about Haiti, since our family will be visiting that small island nation next year on a mission trip. The poverty in Haiti is almost unimaginable by those of us who live in relative comfort in the United States. Food prices are so high in Haiti that many of the people eat what is commonly referred to as Dirt Biscuits. The biscuits are made from dried yellow clay mixed with water, salt and vegetable shortening or margarine. Though originally designed for medicinal purposes, the biscuits have now become the staple diet for a significant number of people in Haiti. It is hard for those of us who live in America to imagine people being so hungry they would eat a biscuit made from dirt. Yet, that is a common meal for far too many people in Haiti.

As we sit in our rented beach house enjoying family and eating far too much junk food, we cannot help but think about people in places like Haiti who tonight will eat a dirt biscuit to stave off hunger for one more day. Dirt biscuits have come up several times in our conversations the last few days. But it must be more than just a subject of conversation. It must translate into action. This is one of the reasons why our family will travel to Haiti next year to work with God's Littlest Angels orphanage. We feel compelled to put feet to our conversation. We know we cannot change a whole nation in a week, but we can help a small group of children eat something other than dirt, even if only for a few days.

Those of us who have been blessed by God to have more than dirt biscuits to eat must do something to make a difference in the lives of those around us. The 25th chapter of the Gospel of Matthew reminds us that when we help the least of these in the name of Christ, then we have served Christ Himself. Let us learn to pray: "Lord, help those of us who have so much see the needs of those who have so little and respond in ways that can make a real difference." And then let us put feet to our prayers.

For more devotionals like this one, consider Touching the Footprints of Jesus


  1. powerful, thanks for writing this.

  2. I like this too

  3. David Russell, Burlington, VTJune 24, 2011 at 9:52 PM

    I have been to Haiti 3 times, it will break your heart to see the poverty there, and at the same time, the tremendous faith the followers of Jesus have who live there.