Formations 11.14.2021: Enough for All

Malachi 3:10-12; 2 Corinthians 9:6-15

Our world has striking disparities between people with enough to eat and people who go hungry. According to stats provided by the international organization Action Against Hunger, around 811 million people around the world don’t get enough to eat. They’re not just missing a meal or two each day. They’re eating unbalanced diets (with either too little or too much of certain nutrients); consuming too few calories to support life functions; suffering severe deficiencies in vitamins, minerals, protein, and other essentials; and struggling to access and afford nutritious, filling foods.

The crisis is extreme in Third World countries, but even here in the United States, many families in my own town face food insecurity, not sure whether they’ll have enough money to buy what they need. Often, they must resort to cheap fast food or other junk foods just to fill bellies. The effects on health and wellness are devastating.

Meanwhile, I sit here at my kitchen table typing this article, having enjoyed a warm bowl of oatmeal with peanut butter, bananas, and milk. I’m sipping my delicious fair trade coffee, complete with half and half and honey. My drinking water is filtered and refreshing. My refrigerator and pantry are filled with healthy meats, grains, beans, dairy products, fruits, vegetables, and treats. I have never been food insecure. My children have never known true hunger.

God’s instruction about my responsibility to feed the hungry is indisputable. I can’t read far in the Bible without coming across a reminder to care for the needy. Our passages today promise rewards to those of us who provide for others. But is that why we give? I think our motive should be gratitude. It’s like Grace Noll Crowell’s hymn says: “Because I have been given much I too must give” (1936; music by Phillip Landgrave, 1975).

The Internet makes it easy to find reputable, honest organizations that accept financial donations to care for people in need. You may also have local groups that accept gifts for the hungry. Let’s commit to providing for those who struggle to provide for themselves, even if it means giving up a vacation or a new possession—not because we want God to reward us but because we are thankful to God for what we have and wish to share the bounty.

Sources: Action Against Hunger, “World Hunger: Key Facts and Statistics 2021,” https://www.actionagainsthunger.org/world-hunger-facts-statistics.

“Mormon Hymns – 219 – Because I Have Been Given Much,” Lyrics Translate, https://lyricstranslate.com/en/mormon-hymns-because-i-have-been-given-much-lyrics.html.

Discussion

• Think of a time when you felt extremely hungry. Imagine feeling that way all the time. How would you function in your daily life if your body didn’t get enough nutrients?
• Use a concordance or online search to find Bible passages about feeding the hungry and/or helping the poor. How many did you find?
• What do you know about the level of food insecurity in your town? Which organizations help the hungry where you live?
• In today’s passages, what are the benefits of giving what we have to help other people? How can we give out of gratitude rather than greed?
• If you’re not already giving to help the hungry, what steps can you take to do your part?

Kelley Land, a graduate of Mercer University, has been an assistant editor of Smyth & Helwys curriculum and books since 2001. In addition to this work, she is a freelance editor for other publishers and authors. She also regularly volunteers for Jay’s HOPE, a nonprofit serving families of children with cancer. Kelley enjoys spending time with her teenage daughters, Samantha and Natalie, her husband John, and the family’s two dachshund mix pups, Luke and Leia. She likes supporting community theater productions and is often found playing board games with a group of rowdy friends. She loves Marvel, Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Doctor Who. And she writes middle grade and young adult fiction for the pure joy of it.

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