Book Review – Two Full Plates
I have to be honest, I’ve been sitting on this review for some time. It has been ready to publish for a week now but I have delayed because I feel that so much more could be said about Two Full Plates and yet I just can’t seem to put my finger on what it is. So with that in mind, I want to present to you what I believe is the best book that I have read this year. I don’t say that flippantly. After all, I have read and reviewed close to 40 books in 2016 and still have a few books that I have completed but have not had a chance to sit down and write about. Despite being a short book,Two Full Plates is powerful and a book that I would recommend for anyone who wants to understand the effect that serving those who suffer has on our sanctification.
Two Full Plates was written by Fran Rogers, a 77 year old wife, mother, and grandmother from Georgia. Mrs. Rogers is first and foremost, a woman who is deeply passionate about the glory of God. Her acquaintance with suffering has clearly left an indelible mark upon her. Suffering has a way of doing this to people. However, Mrs. Roger’s response to suffering is anything but typical. She has truly learned (she would say she is still learning) that all these things work together for our good and for God’s glory. Two Full Plates is a book about learning to be a caregiver of those who are suffering. She writes not as a casual observer, but as one who has spent a good part of her life caring for the suffering; first of her mother who passed away from Alzheimer’s disease and now of her dear husband who, following an emergency bypass surgery on his leg, had to have his leg amputated. Those of you who who know me and are familiar with my own afflictions will recognize right away why this book appealed to me. Dear friends, if you learn one thing from your suffering in life let it be this: That God is a good God and that he brings trials into our lives so that we might be conformed to the image of his glorious son. If I can summarize what this book will teach you it would be just that.
Two Full Plates reads as if it is a letter from a dear friend recounting the many joys and trials which God has brought her through. In fact, as I was reading it, I couldn’t help but remember the letters we would receive from my grandmother when we were children. There is much to be learned from those who display the fruit of having walked with Jesus. I often found myself clinging to every word because I recognized the “aroma of Christ” in her words and didn’t want to read them too hastily. Read this book as you would read a letter from a precious saint who has learned what it means to walk with God. In many ways, her writing is reminiscent of Elizabeth Elliot, another dear sister who learned a passion for God’s glory through her encounters with suffering. Consider the first two paragraphs from the preface:
In God’s sovereignty and providence we see His plans for our creation. His plans are not always what we would have chosen for ourselves. Given the option we would most often disapprove of His choices. In our human nature we think our own thoughts and wish for ourselves the life that suits our inclinations. Even the regenerate man does not choose the role of the servant’s life. If God advertised for servants, He would get very few applicants.
Creation is not our heavenly Father’s only work, but as our Redeemer, He recreates us to reveal and fulfill His purpose in each of us. The Lord God gives us a new heart, and this heart has to be trained for the life He has planned for us. As a new creature in Christ, we are trained for the servant’s role.
From the very start of the book, Fran Rogers frames the discussion of suffering and caring for the suffering in light of God’s sovereignty and providence. She acknowledges the struggles our flesh has with God’s choices for us, and brings it back to God’s redeeming working of making us into new creations. This is deeply profound and I ask that you go back and re-read her quote if you rushed your way through it. Allow it to sink in. This is what the sum total of our lives is about. Submitting to God’s plans for us, however unpleasant they might seem, in order that he will be praised for His good work by learning to become a servant. Throughout the book, Mrs. Rogers is transparent about her mistakes in life. More importantly, she is quick to acknowledge God’s goodness as He graciously leads her in her journey of faith; sometimes chastising her and at other times lavishing His good gifts upon her. All of these are good gifts in the end, but it takes eyes of faith to see that even trials (such as the death of her mother) are indeed good gifts if you have the eternal perspective to recognize that God has set about to finish the good work he has begin in each of us.
Serving others, especially in their weakness, does not come naturally to us. Two Full Plates emphasizes this fact. It is something that is learned and it beings (as we might expect) in childhood with lessons such as washing the dishes right away instead of letting them sit around soaking. It’s these little details that made this book such a joy to read. Writing from the perspective of one who has learned many lessons in life, Fran Rogers identifies key experiences in her life as a child, mother, and as a grandmother which (in hindsight) were all experiences which God was using to prepare her to be a caregiver.
One of my favorite moments in Two Full Plates was near the end of the book in a section titled, Continuing to Follow the Master Caregiver. In here, Fran Rogers skillfully navigates through a number of passages in which we are exhorted to be a servant because Christ Himself was a servant.
A daily walk with Christ is required to continue in service where He wills us to be. The following are Scripture references that remind me of who I am as His servant. I must sit at Jesus’ feet and learn from Him if I am to serve Him. I must pray, not only for Jerry and me, but also for all saints and Christ’s church. I must participate in weekly worship, serving Him and His people.
If I am to fulfill His will for my creation and redemption ~ Christ’s dying for me ~ everything must be for His glory; the chief end ~ to glorify Him and enjoy Him forever. (Shorter Catechism)The joy
comes as He is being glorified in me.
There is so much more that I can say about this short treasure of a book; but it would be much better for you to hear it from Fran Rogers herself.This is a book that I hope all Christians read. Most of us are caught unprepared when God brings suffering into our lives; our own suffering and the suffering of loved ones. There is a lot of work that needs to be done to prepare Christians to serve one another in our afflictions, and I can’t think of a better book to start you on that journey than Two Full Plates by Fran Rogers. This book is available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle versions. Both versions are affordable and the profits are donated to missions (including my favorite missions organization, Heart Cry Missionary Society).
Where to purchase Two Full Plates
About the Author
Fran Rogers is a 77-year-old wife/caregiver to Jerry, her husband of 55 years; mother of two, grandmother of six, a great-grandmother; musician and gardener; a writer for twenty-five years, now publishing; in her second childhood, and loving it!
All her books are about God’s grace and goodness, His power and glory, proclaiming the legacy of God’s kingdom to His people. As a caregiver for her children, grandchildren, her dad with cancer, her mother with Alzeimer’s Disease, and her husband who is an amputee with heart disease, she challenges and encourages Christians to grow and to rejoice in their relationship with God through His Son, the Holy Spirit and His written word.
Profits are donated to missions, MTW and Heart Cry Missionary Society, Samaritans Purse and other missions and charities as the Lord leads.
Learn more about her ministry, and follow her blog posts at https://godsgracegodsglory.com.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Fran Rogers in exchange for an online review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”