September 27, 2008
A few days ago, I thought I was hungry because I only put two small items in my lunch container for work. The more I thought about it, the more I realized I've never been hungry.
"Don't waste food", I've often told my daughter. "There are people starving all over the world." I've now extended this admonition to include not wasting water as there are people struggling all over the world to find clean drinking water.
Until I started searching for images of hunger to use with this post, I realized hunger is much uglier and more painful than I had imagined.
In the U.S. we are struggling with getting our heads and hands around a $700 billion dollar "bailout" --there are other words, but I won't use them-- of Wall Street. I can imagine someone saying, "You want me to give money to help the hungry? I am the hungry!" I admit I'm not eating out as much as I did a year ago. But I'm not the hungry. I am nowhere near being hungry.
Did you know that hunger and malnutrition kill more people than HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined? When I learned this and other facts from the International Medical Corps,I realized I've never been truly hungry and have probably only encountered a handful of truly hungry people in my life.
I can give up pizza and a night out at the movies to help someone who's starving.
I can throw a potluck supper or brunch and ask everyone who comes to throw a a few dollars in a bowl to help groups like International Medical Corps. save the lives of some young, old, and middle-aged people who happened to be born in the "wrong" part of the world when it comes to finding and keeping enough food.
If I'm feeling really ambitious, maybe I can even go on a six or twelve month cable TV fast and send that money to someone who's helping to keep the hungry from turning into the starving.
Can we have bottled water instead of soda and wine at that next party and bang some bucks together for hungry people?
I'm trying to take away your excuses, folks.
And for those of you who seem to care only care about souls and not about bodies:
31"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34"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. 35For 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, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'
37"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'
40"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.'
41"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'
44"They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'
45"He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'
46"Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life." ---Matthew 25:31-46