I Was Hungry and You Gave Me Food
Food is one of those things I usually take for granted. I have vivid memories of being an insatiable teenager and staring into a fridge full of food, only to complain to my parents, “Why don’t we have anything to eat?” — which really just meant, why don’t we have anything to eat that I want right now. Even as a young adult, I frequently take for granted my freedom to mindlessly spend $10-20 on tacos and chips & queso at Fuzzy’s or a BLT at Sweetie Pie’s. I can afford to go to the grocery store anytime I want, purchasing food for meals and snacks and junk food without thinking twice. Legitimate hunger is never a problem I have had to face in my life.
That freedom, however, is not the reality for many people in our world. Right here in the city of Decatur, 18.7% of the population lives at or below the poverty line. In our Decatur ISD schools, 47.7% of children come from economically disadvantaged homes. During this past summer, when schools are not open to provide daytime meals for students, Decatur Cares provided over 9,200 breakfast and lunch meals for children — feeding on average 140 students each week. During the school year, Decatur Cares provides non-perishable food staples in backpacks for 155 Elementary School children to take home for their families. An additional 100 students at the Middle School and High School receive food from the school pantries — most of these students are the primary meal providers for their younger siblings.
When it came to providing the basic necessities of life to people, Jesus gave simple instructions: “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me …just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” (Matthew 25:34-40) Every time you give food to a child of God, you serve Jesus himself — every time you clothe a child of God, you serve Jesus himself — every time you welcome a child of God, you welcome Jesus himself. When we give of ourselves to serve our neighbors who are hungry, we are seeking to meet God face to face.
I invite you to join me in being more conscious about the ways we take food for granted, to spend less on our own luxuries and give more to help provide for the basic necessities of others. Financially support ministries like Decatur Cares or W.A.R.M. who are on the front lines combating hunger and food scarcity here in Decatur and Wise County. Volunteer your time and energy with these ministries — stock shelves at W.A.R.M. for a few hours each week or join the FUMC Decatur team at the Decatur Cares Mobile Food Pantry on the first Saturday morning of each month. Find a way to love and serve the God revealed in the face of our neighbors. Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, care for the sick, welcome the stranger — for in these simple acts of great love, we serve and meet Jesus Christ himself.