Weekly Reflection: Growing Faith & Increasing Love

The following devotional is taken from A Common Meal which contains 40 days of devotions for adults and kids along with stories and recipes to help guide your journey through Rice & Beans Month.

We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing.
II Thessalonians 1:3

When we practice spiritual disciplines like fasting, we hope to see evidence of God changing us to become more like Jesus in our hearts and actions. But what does that difference really look like? According to Paul’s words to the Thessalonian church, the evidence is in growing faith and increasing love.

Take a moment to notice how your faith has already grown through this experience. As you sacrifice convenience and pleasure, are you aware of God meeting your needs in new ways? Perhaps your spiritual appetite is growing as your physical appetite is denied, or you are finding yourself drawn to prayer more often than usual. These are a few among many potential signs of a growing faith.

Many of us participate in Rice & Beans Month because of love for people who have big needs. How do you sense love increasing in you? Maybe you have more compassion toward those who live in poverty? You may be more aware of the impact your actions have on the poor. Are you praying more often for hurting people around the world? Does your heart feel even more tender toward hurting children you have never met? It’s pretty amazing to notice the unique ways that love is increasing in your life.

As you desire to see your faith grow and your love increase even more through this experience, pray for that specifically as you prepare to eat each meal.


Have you ever prayed to God about something specific, and then received an answer? How did you feel when that happened? Your faith in God is planted deep in your spirit like a little seed planted in dirt. God wants that seed to grow and grow throughout your life, so that you have faith as HUGE as the tallest tree you have ever seen! Every time God answers your prayers, fills you with joy, speaks to your heart, encourages you through scripture, or helps you through a hard time, it’s like he is caring for that little seed and causing your faith to grow.

As you eat rice and beans and then later see how many people receive food because of your sacrifice, the seeds of faith inside you will grow a little bigger. As your faith grows bigger and bigger, you won’t be able to stop yourself from sharing it with others, and that helps the faith inside them grow a little bit, too! Have everyone at your table take a turn sharing an example of God answering a prayer. Let each story water your seed of faith and cause it to grow today!


Father, thank you for providing for all our needs today, and especially for this food. We want to love you with everything in us, and we want our hearts to be shaped like yours. As we eat our rice and beans today, may our faith in you grow and our love for others increase so that your work can be seen in and through us. Pour out on us the delight of being fully alive in your boundless agape love. In the name of Jesus, Amen.