“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” (Romans 12:20)
Compassionate ministry to the hungry should include even enemies. Such compassionate care may cause them to repent and change their ways. Christians do not set up qualifications people must meet to deserve our ministry. We find people in need and show them Christ’s love through our response to their immediate needs.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY:
Precious Abba, may we look upon people the way that You do, with our hearts and minds and then show them love as Christ has shown to us. It it not what we say that matters or makes people want to follow Christ, it is the way we treat them and all others through our efforts to give them something to eat or let them have socks or gloves, or whatever their need is. Let our worship then flow out of grateful hearts. This we pray. Amen
THOUGHT OF THE DAY:
“Perseverance is an indication of faith.”
“For as you eat each of you goes ahead without waiting for anybody else. One remains hungry, another gets drunk. Don’t you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you for this? Certainly not!” (1st Corinthians 11:21-22)
Division of goods, not division in rival parties, characterizes Christians. We share with the needy. The church in Corinth was divided into groups of privileged and underprivileged. When they met to eat their potluck feasts, some had more than was needed; others had little to eat and were humiliated because they had nothing. The factions and lack of concern for one another revealed their discipleship was lacking even as they prepared for the sacred worship experience of he Lord’s Supper. Paul had no praise for them. Their love for one another should have caused them to share, and that is why he scolded them for their lack of compassion for those they worshiped with. It also makes one wonder how well they shared with those outside of the church.
“He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.” (Luke 1:53)
Mary spoke prophetically through her son of the blessings under the reign of her Son. The poor will be lifted up, and the hungry will be satisfied with good things. Jesus lives out this type of ministry with everyone and wherever He went. As followers of Christ, we are to follow His example in meeting the needs of our poor and hungry.
As an example my home church many years ago served with several other churches in providing and serving meals on Sunday evenings at a church that served homeless people. This one man always came in and said, “I sure would like some fried chicken.” I told him we has spaghetti and meatballs, and his response was, “Oh, I going to eat, but I sure would like some fried chicken.” A few weeks later, I was on my way to feed and had time, so I stopped and bought him a three piece chicken dinner. As I pulled in the parking lot, I motioned for him to come to my car. I reached in and gave him the dinner. He thanked me and then showed me what true giving is about, as he took two of his buddies and they shared the dinner together. I will never forget what he did and the lesson he taught me that day. How about you, how do you help others with food or needs?
SECOND THOUGHT OF THE DAY:
“Late in the afternoon the Twelve came to him and said, ‘Send the crowd away so they can go to the surrounding villages and countryside and find food and lodging, because we are in a remote place here.’ He replied, ‘You give them something to eat.’ They answered, ‘We have only five loaves of bread and two fish—unless we go and buy food for all this crowd.’ (There about 5,000 people there.) But he said to his disciples, ‘Have them sit down in groups of about fifty each.’ The disciples did so, and everybody sat down. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broken them. Then he gave them to the disciples to set before the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve baskets full of broken pieces that were left over.” (Luke 9:12-17)
Clearly Jesus was moved with compassion when He saw the hungry, and He met their need. He also taught His disciples and us today a lesson. The hungry do not need our pity. They need our compassion and our commitment to act to meet their needs. The hungry masses of our world long for someone to show unselfish compassion.
Missionaries are learning to assist hungry people in producing food. Water resources are being developed and food production increased through irrigation. Churches should continue to support such ministries to prevent future crises as well as meet present needs. Say you cannot go to another country to help out? Well, you are in luck, because there are many ways you can help out in your own communities. For example: If you have available space on your church property, start a community garden, maybe raised beds for those who can’t stoop over and provide the water for the people to water their own vegetables. You might charge a minimum $5 to cover water and ask that 10% of their produce be collected and given to the local food bank or serving centers; You might consider starting or joining other churches for people to donate clothing and shoes; You might start a something else. I know churches that collect new socks, underwear, gloves, and blankets for homeless people. There is no telling what your community might get involved with, and those who are poor and hungry will most certainly appreciate your thoughts and prayers as well.