As I continue my fast, I am constantly reminded of the empathy that it provides for those who are hungry in our towns and in our world. While our main priority is to hunger after God and to lean on Him for strength during a fast, God also gives us a reality check during it about the nature of true hunger. According to World Vision, there is approximately 925 million people who experience hunger daily. This is larger than the population of North and South America combined. 1.4 Billion people live on $1.25 or less each day. 80% of the world’s resources is consumed by 20 % of the population (which includes Americans). The rest of the 80% of the world is left to fend for the scraps of the remaining 20% resources. People who had the plain bad luck to be born in the wrong part of the world. These facts are actually faces…men, women, and (mostly) children who struggle to find the necessary food and water needed throughout the world. The figures are appalling and break my heart.
Mentally and spiritually, I see the injustice and the problem with the hunger in the world. I get it.
But when I become hungry through fasting, I can (in a very small way) understand physically the symptoms of hunger. I can see the weakened state that it can leave the body. I struggle with simply remembering where I put things or even holding extended conversations. I deal with the headaches that come. I avert my eyes in the marketplace so I don’t have to look at the things that I can not buy for myself. I see the irritability sweep over me at random moments. Fasting brings this empathy for the hungry.
Over 2,000 verses in Scripture deal with caring for the poor, but this one I wanted to share with you today:
Jeremiah 22: 13-16
13 “Woe to him who builds his palace by unrighteousness,
his upper rooms by injustice,
making his countrymen work for nothing,
not paying them for their labor.
14 He says, ‘I will build myself a great palace
with spacious upper rooms.’
So he makes large windows in it,
panels it with cedar
and decorates it in red.
15 “Does it make you a king
to have more and more cedar?
Did not your father have food and drink?
He did what was right and just,
so all went well with him.
16 He defended the cause of the poor and needy,
and so all went well.
Is that not what it means to know me?”
declares the LORD.
God speaks to someone with much wealth (and if you live in America, you are wealthy) and asks a simple question, “Do you want more stuff or do you want to know me?” If we want to know God, we must care for those who are in need. It’s that tough and rough, but it’s that simple.
If you want to put this challenge into action, please check out our Free Methodist ministry (International Child Care Ministries) that is linked below and see how you can be a part of helping ease hunger and provide relief for those who need it in our world.