In the Lord’s Prayer we are taught to ask for our daily bread. Most of us have never had to wonder where we would find food for the day. Our cupboards and pantries always seem to yield some sort of nourishment. Those of us who are fortunate enough to live in the West have more than likely never gone without food for an entire day. We are blessed beyond measure, and one need only look at the plight of the truly hungry around the world to be reminded of that fact.
According to WorldHunger.org, over 978 million people in the world are going hungry; that’s approximately one out of every six persons on the planet today. This is simply inexcusable for the world at large, but particularly egregious for those of us who seek to follow Jesus. We are told repeatedly in Scripture to feed the hungry (Isaiah 58:7, 10; Matthew 25:31-46; Romans 12:20; James 2:14-17; Deuteronomy 24:19-22; Luke 14:13). Knowing this, why is it that we are content to hoard the food for ourselves? I cringe when I think how often I’ve said, “There’s nothing to eat in this house!” I don’t think that has ever truly been the case. The real truth is there is perhaps nothing I am craving to eat in the house. We are so spoiled that we lament when we run out of a certain food, yet all the while we have more food in our house right now than nearly a billion people will have in an entire year. Our worst hunger cannot compare to their best days.
We must do something. The problem is large and daunting, but the God we serve is able to deliver the hungry from their distress. He calls us to be His hands and feet in bringing relief to their gnawing stomachs. God will honor and use our prayers, donations and efforts to bring His justice to this world. With the resources we have at our disposal, there is no excuse for a single person to go to bed hungry tonight. Let’s all do a gut check and review our expenses for the last month. How many needless material things did each of us buy? How much money did we spend on food that exceeded our “daily bread”? If we had only given half of that total to feeding the hungry, how much might all our contributions together have totaled? One person can make a difference here; a concentrated effort of all followers of Christ would have an impact that would resonate around the world.
Jesus made it very clear that His followers would show mercy to those around them, and he particularly pointed out feeding the hungry (Matthew 25:31-46). He made this a stipulation of being welcomed into His kingdom. If we do not feed the hungry, then we do not love as Christ loved. Our Western culture has blinded us to the needs of those in other countries; our suburban lifestyle shields us from the hungry in our own cities. It’s not enough to acknowledge and pray for the problem. As followers of Jesus, we must take action. Love is a verb and it is not passive. If we are to love others as Christ did, then we must act. I am not advocating that we should all become destitute and give every last cent to feed the hungry (although I do believe there is virtue in that). I am simply asking that we all, myself included, take a fresh look at how we are spending our money while looking for ways to distribute it to the poor and hungry instead.
Look into the eyes of the hungry. Let their faces burn into your mind. Begin to notice how much food is wasted in our country. We throw away so much food while one in six people lack food for the day. Here’s something I read about that we can all try. Get a large can or perhaps just a separate garbage bag, and put nothing in it except the food you throw away for a week. At the end of the week, weigh it and see how much you have wasted. According to the United Nations, about 25,000 people die each day due to hunger or hunger-related diseases. How many lives might have been saved with the food we waste each week? It is sobering and it is not acceptable. Jesus called us to be His hands and feet in this world that has so much hunger. He called us to feed them. We, in turn, have become blind to the needs of others while continuing to satisfy our own selfish desires.
We all need our daily bread, but none of us needs any more than that. What if we all cut back to eating simply what we needed and gave the money we saved to feed someone who is impoverished? We can change the world, one person at a time. We can all make a difference if we would simply do the things Jesus commanded us to do. Don’t turn away from the hungry. God loves them and we should too. Determine today to make a difference in their lives; in the name of Jesus, be the hands that deliver their daily bread.