When Was I Hungry?
Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink… ~ Matthew 25-34:35
Webster defines courage as mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficultly. Courage takes many shapes and sizes. For most of society it is easy not to steal and kill, but what about the little things, like not gossiping, helping those in need, loving our enemies? For most of us, it is much harder to love our enemies than it is to not kill.
You don’t have to watch TV very long to see that there are people throughout the world who need help. This last week our youth started a four-week study looking at poverty. It is easy to look at poverty as something that is facing other people in other countries, states, and even other cities, but hard to see it when it is next door.
As we began our study, one of the facts we learned was that more than 25,000 children die from hunger-related illnesses each day. When we hear numbers like this, they are almost too big for us to comprehend. But to put those numbers in perspective, there are 168,000 people who live in Tempe, just over 5,000 that live in Cave Creek and over 3,000 that live in Carefree. With 25,000 children dying a day it would be like the entire population of Tempe, Cave Creek, and Carefree dying this week by preventable causes, and that is just the children.
It is easy for us to think that world hunger is a problem that is too big, or that we can’t do anything about it. It is easy to justify not helping that person on the side of the street asking for food or money, by saying “I don’t know what they will use the money for,” but it takes courage to be a part of the solution instead of ignoring the problem, and that is exactly what the youth of Pinnacle are going to do, be part of the solution. Every year on Super Bowl Sunday, the Jr. and Sr. high students come out with their pots and pans to ask the congregation to help fight hunger by supporting the Souper Bowl of Caring.
However, this year our Sr. High Students have asked to do something more, to do something a little more courageous, to raise awareness about hunger and poverty. This year on the Friday and Saturday before millions of people tune into the Super Bowl Pinnacle youth will voluntarily, yes I said voluntarily, go without food for 30 hours. Why would teenagers want to do this? Why would anyone want to do this? Because despite what the rest of the world is doing, they want to make a difference in our world and in our community.
When the youth of Pinnacle hear numbers like 25,000 children die every day or families in Phoenix don’t have enough money for Christmas, or people in Yarnell, San Francisco, Belize or in Navajo Nation need help, they don’t sit around thinking that the problem is too big, they become the change that is needed. Becoming the very hands and feet that God has called us to be in this world so that God’s love and mercy might shine.
Those who Jesus commended for doing the right thing by taking care of the hungry and thirsty did not consider themselves courageous; they simply saw it as doing the right thing. Yet, in a society that stresses personal needs and desires over the needs of others, especially the poor and the outcast, looking out for the needs of others can be considered courageous.
In reality, it isn’t one person doing one big thing that makes a difference in the world; it is millions of people doing little things every day that makes the world a better place. However, we think the little things don’t matter that they won’t make a difference, and sometimes to do the little things takes more courage than we think. This week, I encourage you, no matter how small, to be part of the solution to make our world a better place. Do something courageous!!!