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QUESTION: Where do you go when you're hungry?

ANSWER: If I have money I go to a store or a restaurant - the free market economy.

QUESTION: What if you don't have money? What then? Where do you go to get some of that?

ANSWER: I go to work.

QUESTION: What if you don't have a job? Then what? Where do you go for work so you can have money so you can have food?

ANSWER: I ask friends and family for help. If that doesn't work out I head to a government office and enroll in assistance programs that will help me out until I can better answer the job question, and the money question and the food question.

THINK: Is anything missing from these answers?


Blogger Shaun Groves said...

If you were at IKON tonight you're banned from answering...please. You already know my answer to this riddle. Just wait for step two.


Blogger Jeff and Bethany said...

the church.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

maybe the church shouldn't wait? maybe the church should go to them?

Anonymous jwise said...

This sounds like my James class for the last 6 months. I'm teaching mostly 50-80 year olds, and to them, church is just something you go to on Sunday morning/evening, and Wednesday. You go to be taught, and to be encouraged about going to heaven someday. Outreach equates to inviting people to come to church with you.

I suggest opening your home to the needy and they tell me I just don't understand how unsafe it is. I mention helping at a local ministry (think Alpha Women's Center or a homeless shelter) and they tell me there's no hope for such wicked people as the axe murderers and prostitutes that hang out at homeless shelters and crisis pregnancy centers.

I don't think it's that they hate these people so much as they're imprisoned by their fear. And on top of that, they have 50+ years of being taught that church is something you go to, NOT something that you ARE.

Church is what Christians do until they die and go to heaven. Somehow we need to return to the mindset that the Kingdom is here NOW, and we ARE that Kingdom, and we need to live "Kingdomly" lives right now.

Where do I go when I'm hungry? Anyone's home who calls himself a Christian. After all, that person's delighted at the opportunity to serve, and they're totally equipped by God to do just that.

Blogger Jules said...

God's love and healing of the soul seems to be missing. God's promises to care for us as he does the lillies of the field and birds of the air.

Blogger Shane S. said...

I would say it is more the responsibility of the church (i.e. the people of God) than of the government to help those who are in need.

Jesus tells us to "love your neighbor as yourself." Not only that, but He also teaches that "blessed are you who are poor!"

Matthew 25 lays the whole situation of social justice out in the open with the separation of the sheep and the goats.

"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, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'
"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'
"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

--Matthew 25:34-40, NIV

I find it so sad that some churches do not take responsibility for our role in serving those in need. Maybe our government can provide some help to people in hard times, but I believe that the church should always be first to action.

Blogger Mustard Packet Pelter said...

It depends on what kind of hunger you're talking about. Spiritual hunger can't always be delt with by the church. There has to be outside food sources like praying, reading your bible, and also helping those who are "the least of these".
Physical hunger we shouldn't worry about. God told us not to worry. He told us to consider the sparrows how they had shelter and food and did not worry and how much more our Father in Heaven loves us.
There are a lot of answers I could come up with here.

Blogger Shaun Groves said...

You have nothing in your pantry and three kids to feed.

Worried now?

You'd have to define "worry" I guess.

Anonymous jwise said...

jules and mustard,

Yeah, God says that He'll take care of His people and provide for all of our needs. But what if His solution for a single-mom's need to feed her 3 kids for the first time this week is His Church? What if God is just looking for a single obedient member of His Body who will step forward and say, "Oh, you need. Here, I have plenty!"

To borrow from Casting Crowns, if we are the Body, then why on earth is Jesus' body so ineffective?

One man with twelve disciples flipped the world upside down. With millions in the US claiming to follow His example, the Kingdom should be here and working flawlessly. Unless we aren't really His Body... in which case, we aren't really His people.

Blogger GrovesFan said...

Amen jwise. I know I won't turn the world upside down, but I'm trying to do more each day to strengthen my part of the body. We got our first letter from our little boy we sponser through Compassion and he's just a dear. It's great to be able to help him. I'd like to be more active locally too and am looking for ways to do just that.


Blogger euphrony said...

The questions posed follow the classic American "bootstrap" philosophy - take care of yourself and do not worry or look to others - and leads into the welfare state where you get what you need from the government and remain essentially isolated.

What is missing, as others note, is church - the community and unity of the people of God. Name it and claim it does not work because it is not biblical (i.e. the way God works). The upsetting fact is that our God does allow/cause righteous people to suffer, to starve, and to die (read Isaiah 57:1-2). Worry? No, we should not worry but trust in our Creator. That does not wipe from our mind the burdens of today, though, and we must still live in today. It is a fine balance to trust in the Lord but remain in desperation. The church reflects the hope of God to those in despair, not hope of physical provision but of the spiritual destination. The church acts to bestow the blessing of Jehovah on this world, the milk and meat of the gospel and the milk and meat that fills bellies and keeps starving children alive.

Shaun, I cannot help but tie this into your tithing blog. Our giving is not defined by a dollar sign, but by every gift we have been given (speaking, money, food, housing, encouragement, etc.). It should be as boundless as the boundless gift we have been given and our giving should be seeking out others as God sought us out to bestow His gifts on us.

Anonymous jwise said...

"The church reflects the hope of God to those in despair, not hope of physical provision but of the spiritual destination."

What if it's BOTH? Wouldn't that be just like God to use His people, who He promised would be a blessing to the NATIONS, to provide both spiritual hope AND hope of physical needs?? What an amazing truth that could blow our minds :)

Blogger marianne said...

Initially I was thinking prayer and church community.

But I read this several more times and started thinking about how we all have needs. Just different ones. So what if the parent(s) with no food for the kids approached friends and family with an offer or idea of a way to help them out in exchange for food? Although it isn't easy to think that way when you are down and out. Also, it'd be helpful if the food-seekers had some tiny fragments of plans in the back of their minds as they noticed their pantry going bare.

So, I really don't know the answer here. It did bring up these questions for me: 1) Why just ask for help if it's at all possible to give back just a smidge -even if it's a promise for something in the future maybe - whenever you are able? and 2) What was going on while the pantry was depleted? Did the pantry go bare without anyone noticing?

Meanwhile, I guess my kids would be going hungry while I ask these questions.

Blogger Mustard Packet Pelter said...

I said we shouldn't worry I didn't say we shouldn't do anything about it. BIG difference there. If you're actually looking and not just sitting around worrying about it God's gonna take care of ya. Just like the sparrows HAVE to go and find the bird feeders we set out for them. We as human beings can't just sit around and say okay God do your thing and expect him to come the whole 100 yards. We gotta meet him halfway or at least attempt to.

Blogger euphrony said...

Read the next sentence in my post (the one after the sentence you quoted). I say exactly that we should be providing both spiritual and physical aid. By saying it the way I did I was trying to emphasize that our primary mission is to touch lives spiritually - one way of doing this is to touch lives in physical need, but we as the church today sometimes forget the spiritual aid as we chase after physical aid.


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