I’ve been worried about the hungry this past week, especially the hungry on my doorstep. I saw this guardian article the other day and then this one today about a food bank that had no food left and it worries me, it really worries me.
It is such a huge problem, in this Country alone the numbers of people using food banks is growing regularly and that’s before we even touch on the hunger which is suffered the world over. It is easy to get bogged down in the sadness of such a huge issue, what can I do to make a difference?
Along came the Gospel reading at church on Sunday (St Agnes, my new home from home!) and here it is in The Message translation because I like the modern twist it gives on these well known words:
25-26 “If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds.
27-29 “Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? All this time and money wasted on fashion—do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them.
30-33 “If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.
34 “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.
Don’t worry, God’s got your back. It’s great to know that. It’s the answer to all those niggly little problems that flit around inside my brain, holding me back and stopping me from taking risks, being the best me I can be. It’s an amazing message for me personally because I’m a natural born worrier. I can really get up a head of steam when I’m worrying, I could be on the olympic team for it. And so I see the above verse and I realise some of my cares are a little self-centred or maybe a little bit vain or just completely irrelevant. God looks after the wild flowers and the birds, so he’s got me covered, no problem. But what about the big issues? What about all those people in the world who are going hungry?
I realised this Sunday (during Clive’s sermon) that the above verses are relevant to them too. To the huge issues of the day that you think you’ll never be able to change on your own. Well there’s the point. On my own I can’t feed the world’s hungry but I can send some tins and packets to Re: Dish a local (to my new church) co- operative that works as a food bank and much more with support for the vulnerable. I can buy a cuppa for a beggar on the street, give him my chocolate bar treat or even just smile at those big issue sellers and beggars who are so often ignored. I can click on the banner at the top of The Hunger Site each and every day to give a little at no cost to myself but a few seconds to find it and do it. I can cook a meal for someone. Hand out some cakes to my neighbours, there’s lots I can do to fight hunger. And lots you can do too.
And together we can make a difference. God knows this. God directs us to do his work on Earth. He uses us to do what we can and together we can make a big difference. So don’t worry about what you can give, what you can do, however little you think your contribution is, to God it’s huge. Your gift will be used for the greater good. It’s part of a world-wide whole and each one of us reading this blog can make a difference.
I saw something on Facebook this morning (Thanks to the lovely Rev David Gray) about a young fellow who’s built up his own forest from scratch.
A little more than 30 years ago, a teenager named Jadav “Molai” Payeng began burying seeds along a barren sandbar near his birthplace in northern India’s Assam region to grow a refuge for wildlife. Not long after, he decided to dedicate his life to this endeavor, so he moved to the site so he could work full-time creating a lush new forest ecosystem. Incredibly, the spot today hosts a sprawling 1,360 acres of jungle that Payeng planted — single-handedly.
He started by planting a little seed. Plant your little seed today. Choose to do good, don’t be overwhelmed by the problem, do what you can to chip away at it and when God’s children all come together and chip away together, big things happen.