Food is often the centerpiece of fun and fellowship with friends, family or coworkers. Meals anchor events of big and small proportions. People’s lives are scheduled around eating, be it consumed in solitude or among large crowds. Sometimes the very homes people live in are designed primarily around eating spaces. Without question, food and daily decisions go hand in hand.
Yet for about 800 million people, decisions they make surrounding food are not, “What will I eat now?” Instead, they question, “How will I survive?” Approximately 12 percent of the world’s population do not have sufficient nutrition to lead healthy lives. In many third-world countries, the extraordinary toll on childhood development and life expectancy has tragic implications with loss of human potential for generations.
The magnitude and complexity of world hunger is daunting. Advances in food science and distribution during the last 30 – 40 years have been offset by corruption and political unrest, as well as war, severe weather and other natural disasters. Some areas of the world have experienced unimaginable depletion of natural resources alongside the drain of hope for millions already living at a poverty level we cannot begin to comprehend.
Many of us get stuck in our thinking. On one hand, we know intellectually that in our community and around the world there are hungry people who desperately need our help. Perhaps we allow ourselves to get caught up in the politics of hunger? Or maybe we think, “There will always be hungry and poor people in the world, and I can’t change that?” Or some of us might be asking, “How can I – just one person – make a difference?”
Scripture lays out clearly how God intends His followers to treat the hungry, the poor and the oppressed:
Isaiah 58:7 – Share your food with the hungry and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help.
Isaiah 58:10 – Feed the hungry and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon.
James 2:14-18 – What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also, faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.
Matthew 14:15-21 – Now when it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” But Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” They said to him, “We have only five loaves here and two fish.” And he said, “Bring them here to me.” Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds.
There are many choices we can make as individuals or collectively that honor God’s call for us to act on behalf of and for the benefit of hungry, poor and disadvantaged people. Those people are in fact a very special part of His creation.
- We start by taking our faith beyond the abstract and into the tangible realm.
- We respond willfully to the Spirit by caring for and loving sacrificially those people who God has nudged us toward feeding or helping.
- We pray and encourage.
- We serve and engage people outside our comfort zone.
- We steward the resources God has provided.
- We look for opportunities to feed the hungry.
Such an opportunity exists with Feed My Starving Children, a mobile pack event November 6 – 9 at Friendship Church, 12800 Marystown Road, Shakopee. I encourage you to participate with friends, family, co-workers or church and school groups. By signing up and donating a few hours, you will experience great joy and unity of purpose as you fulfill God’s heart for hungry and needy people.Topics: FMSC, hunger, serve