Published: 00:00 GMT Standard Time - Friday 20 November 2009
Feeding Hungry Christians
Project(s): 11-220, 65-377, 65-420, 20-383, 20-246, 91-721, 00-636
Feeding Hungry Christians
|In Western society, we often take the availability of food for granted. However, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations predicted that in 2009 world hunger would have reached a historic high of 1.02 billion people going hungry every day. Particularly affected are countries in Africa and Asia, where, for many, including Christians, it is not a question of “What food will I choose?”, but more a question of “What can I afford?” or even “Will I eat today?”|
The Bible’s Call to Feed the Hungry
As we read with our eyes open to God’s priorities (Psalm 146:7), we see that there are many places throughout the Bible where He tells us to care for others out of our wealth, in gratitude for what He has done for us. In Isaiah, we are told:
Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: Is it not to share your food with the hungry... and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. (Isaiah 58:6-10)
Ezekiel acknowledges that a righteous person
...does not oppress anyone, but returns what he took in pledge for a loan. He does not commit robbery but gives his food to the hungry and provides clothing for the naked... He follows my decrees and faithfully keeps my laws. That man is righteous; he will surely live, declares the Sovereign LORD. (Ezekiel 18:5-7)
This theme of helping to feed those who are hungry is carried from the Old Testament through to the New Testament, where it is applied specifically to feeding other Christians. The parable of the Sheep and the Goats (Matthew 25:31-46) says the following:
When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the King will say to those on his right, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat...” (Matthew 25:31-35)
When those on His right ask “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you?” (Matthew 25:37), the King replies “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40).
Jesus identifies so closely with His people in their suffering that how we respond to them is directly related to how we respond to Him.
And so we should recognise that God has chosen us to meet the needs of our brothers and sisters who are hungry. James 2 also sets out this responsibility clearly:
What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if people claim to have faith but have no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. (James 2:14-17)
So as God’s people, we are called by the Lord to minister to His suffering people, Christians who are scattered across the world in situations of great need and persecution, despised, weak, vulnerable and oppressed. Paul tells us that “As we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” (Galatians 6:10, emphasis added).