You Give Them Something to Eat

you give them something to eat It seems we, as humans, are always passing the buck, or bucking the responsibility.

Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”

“We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered.  — Matthew 14:16-17, NIV

Jesus saw the multitude and that the multitude was hungry. His attitude was not to leave their well-being up to someone else. He took responsibility and He wanted His disciples to assume this responsibility as well.

His disciples, however, could not see past their own limitations.

“We don’t have enough food for all these people” and “we don’t have the money to buy food for all these people” were the excuses Jesus heard.

The disciples wanted to send the hungry people away to fend for themselves, passing the responsibility of feeding the hungry back onto the hungry themselves.

Jesus, however, was not deterred by the physical limitations of the situation. He had bread the disciples didn’t understand. He understood the limitless nature of God’s provision, a provision not encased in the physical reality around us, but in the supernatural reality of God.

Is our response not much the same as the disciples when we are confronted with the need of the hungry?

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Just Like My Mom

Just like my mom I’ve discovered that the older I get, the more amazing my mother gets. For a few years, my mother raised me as a single mom. I was too young to remember that time, and she never talked about it much. Whenever I would ask her questions about those years, she would just shrug her shoulders. In her mind, she just did what she had to do. Eventually we moved in with my aunt, and later my mom remarried.

A few months ago, I was visiting with my aunt. We were reminiscing about my childhood when my aunt suddenly became very quiet. She turned to me, her eyes brimming with tears, and took my hands in hers.

“Your mother made so many sacrifices for you,” she said quietly. I nodded, but said nothing. I knew she wasn’t finished. “We knew things were hard for her, but we didn’t know how hard. Brandy — she would not eat so she could buy you food. She would do anything for you.”

I sat on my aunt’s porch, unable to speak. So many of my childhood memories involve food. Of my mother tearing up pieces of chicken on a bright pink plastic plate. Blowing on a bowl of steaming potatoes dotted with butter and pepper. Stirring a bubbling pot of spaghetti sauce on the stove.

I was too young to notice that sometimes her own plate was empty.

I know that my mother’s story is not an isolated experience. I know that too well. I’ve read dozens of stories and reports about families literally starving to death. Of mothers sacrificing for their children day after day. To the point of death.

I’m not a mother yet. I don’t know what it’s like to love a child that completely — that sacrificially. But I do know that my mother had family who stepped in when things were bad. Sadly, mothers in poverty-stricken communities often don’t have that same kind of support.

I will never be able to repay my mother for the sacrifices she made for me. But I can learn from her sacrifice. I can skip eating out and donate to a local food pantry. I can forgo my coffee shop visits and give to mothers desperate to feed their children.

I can give food to those who are hungry. Just like my mother did.

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Silent Tsunami

Silent tsunami Working at Compassion is hard on your heart.

When I purposely expose myself to the ugly things in life, I open myself up to possibility that my heart will be hurt. It’s a scary, vulnerable place, but it’s exactly where God has called me to be.

My heart hurt badly last week when I read this in a crisis report from our staff in Bangladesh …

Approximately 95 percent of Compassion-assisted children are feeling the effects of the [global food] crisis. Many are living on one meal a day — receiving it at their child development centers — and struggling with feelings of guilt and sadness because their family members don’t receive the same benefit.

Did you get that? Our children are feeling guilty for eating one meal a day.

We just had our once-a-quarter meeting where all the different department leaders report their numbers for the previous quarter. Usually, this meeting is filled with exciting reports of how God has blessed Compassion beyond our expectations. We set high goals and God consistently exceeds them. And while last week’s meeting had its share of positive reports, the one issue that overshadowed everything else we talked about was what is being called the Silent Tsunami, or the Global Food Crisis.

Have you heard of it? If you haven’t, you’re likely not alone. But perhaps you’ve seen a glimpse of it here at home: “the rising cost of gas” or “economic recession” or “the creation of biofuels.” But whereas we here in the United States are facing inconvenience and sacrifice, our brothers and sisters around the world are facing death by starvation.

Does this upset you? It should. It obviously upsets me. We’ve got to start doing something about it now because this crisis is going to get worse before it gets better.

This Global Food Crisis is complex — it is not caused by one single thing but is the combination of many factors including:

  • Diverting food towards the creation of biofuels
  • Recent droughts and floods
  • Higher gas prices
  • Higher tariffs in export markets, especially rice

When several of these factors occur together, it creates a kind of “perfect storm” situation, with global consequences. Compassion Vice President of International Program, Mark Yeadon, says that while every person is affected at some level by this crisis, there are varying degrees depending on where in the world you live. Some are refraining from purchasing that new car or vacation home. Some are carpooling to work or riding their bike more. Some are adjusting their grocery list to accommodate the higher food prices. Some are wondering where there next meal will come from. Some don’t worry about where their food will come from because they don’t need to wonder — they know there’s no food.

I don’t mean to depress you. I want to motivate you. Compassion is in a position to make a difference. We have already sent supplementary funds to our two hardest hit countries, Haiti and Bangladesh. We are in communication with our staff in other countries at risk and will address the issues based on the level of severity.

If you are interested in giving money to our Global Food Crisis fund, you can do that. But this is NOT an appeal for money … this is an appeal for your broken heart.

Our family is hurting, and I hope you are not okay with that.

Here are some small things you can do:

  • Pray for God to show you what you should do.
  • Learn about the crisis and then tell others what is going on.
  • Write to your sponsored children in Bangladesh and Haiti to encourage them and love on them.
  • Pray hard about which candidate to support in the upcoming presidential elections.
  • Talk to your own children about what is happening around the world.

While it’s hard not to get overwhelmed at the situation, God is so much bigger than this, and none of this is out of His control. So what is it that He’s asking you to do?

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