Feed the Hungry and Be Fulfilled

We did not choose to be born in America. I could have been born in Uganda. Or I could have been born in Haiti. I respect that I was born in America.

But we weren’t born here because we’re lucky. We were born here because we are blessed.

We are blessed to be born in a country where we have freedom and prosperity. We are blessed to have the opportunities that freedom and prosperity make possible. I know some people think we’re not prosperous. We hear a lot of concern about the economic crisis. But unless you’re making less than four dollars a day, you’re making more money than 90% of people in the world make.

loaves and fishesI can guarantee that people in third world countries are not looking at us and saying “Oh, poor America.” They’re not doing that. We’re in economic crisis and they’re fighting to get here! Even if you’re homeless in America, you’ll find water that’s better than what they’re drinking in parts of Uganda! Maybe there are Ugandans or Haitians that say, “If I have to be homeless and all I can do is drink water, I might as well be homeless in America and drink good water. This water I’m drinking now is killing me.”

Thanks to our abundance, we have an opportunity to help. That’s why we’re so blessed. I think that God looks at all His children and says, “Those of you in this part of the world are doing very, very well. But there’s a part of Me over here that is not.” When you don’t help out with the part of God that is not doing all that well, you’re basically turning your back on Him. You’re saying, “You know what? I’ve got my own thing to do.” You’re becoming selfish. And selfishness is not of God.

Essentially, everybody has a broken spirit. Whether you are the richest man in the world or not, you still need the love of Jesus. You still need to be saved. You still need to have the blood of Jesus on your life. And when you share the love that is shared in feeding someone who is hungry, you have done the act of Jesus. That’s where Jesus says, “You have not only fed me, you have been me.” And I think that is so important to understand.

Jesus went to the people that were hungry. He took a couple of loaves and a few fish and He fed five thousand people who were hungry. And He did it for such a simple reason. He did it because they were hungry!

And when He was here, He said, “I am It. I am the way, the truth, and the life, and no one gets to the Father except through me. I am Truth, and truth shall set you free.” And if you’re going to turn your back on Him, and you don’t care about the person that’s hungry, then your mind’s not in the right spot. You’re actually doing the exact opposite of what’s going to fulfill you.

Selfishness is very shallow. Pridefulness is very shallow. Making sure that you are taken care of is actually a shallow life. But when you take care of somebody else, you have created joy. You have put a smile on somebody else’s face. When you feed other people, you don’t feel hungry. Not at all. You are fulfilled. You don’t feel hungry because you didn’t need to be hungry. You were fulfilled by helping others who were hungry.

Taking care of somebody else will satisfy your soul. And I think that is the greatest thing ever.

Blessings to you. See you Thursday.

Giving Jesus Something to Eat

In a recent post about youth participation in our Something to Eat program, I wrote:

It really feels good to see people getting excited about feeding the hungry. The Gospel of Jesus Christ feels good. Our community is finding fulfillment because with every meal we package, we feed Jesus Christ Himself. Last weekend we packaged 175,000 meals. We fed Jesus Christ 175,000 times! Think about that!

I hope you’ve had a chance to think about that. I think about it a lot. Here’s part of what Jesus says in Matthew 25:

sheep from goatsWhen the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All 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. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

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, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ (Matthew 25:31-40)

You see? When you feed somebody who’s hungry, when you clothe somebody in need, when you visit somebody in prison, or help the hurting,or  the dying, or people in pain, Jesus says, “You have done that to Me, because they are a part of Me. Whether they are living for Me or not, they’re still a part of Me. I created them.”

God created man and woman in His own image. When He did that it was as if He said, “I’ve created you with Me in you.”

You have a spirit of God inside of you. When you were in your mother’s womb, God said, “I created you in my own image. You are part of me. And though you may sin, and though you may fail, you will be fulfilled in me.”

Now think about that. If something you created or something that’s a part of you is under attack, you would feel attacked. If you attacked my son, I would feel like you were attacking a part of me. If you attacked my wife, you’d be attacking a part of me. And if you go up to my son and give him a hug and show him love and care, then that’s how you feel about me.

Since we are creations of the Almighty God, I think He feels the same way. We are sons and daughters of Zion. We are a part of His family. So when He sees someone that is hungry, He’s hungry. And when you feed someone who is hungry, you feed Him.

That’s what He means when He says, “If you do this for the least of these, then you’ve done this for Me.” You can donate one meal, or gather your friends together to donate more. Either way, you will do something amazingly fulfilling. You’ll feed Jesus Christ Himself. I’m telling you: the Gospel of Jesus Christ feels really good!

See you Monday.

Other People

God is a jealous God. Your relationship with Him is your number one priority. It is! And if you’re truly striving to have a relationship with God, then there will be a change in you. You will become a better human being.

But I think Christians are sometimes like this:

“I’ve got to make sure I read my Bible today, and I’ve got to make sure I take communion, and I’ve got to memorize my memory verse. Hey! That person just cut me off! Eff you!”

Or worse, they see other people, right in front of them, and their attitude is, “Hey, man, I don’t care about that person.” Continue reading

Selfless Like Jesus

There’s no better way to reflect God’s love than by helping someone in need. Why is this the best way? Because you have to be selfless to help someone in need. In other words, you have to be like Jesus.

Jesus! When He came down, man, everything He did was a selfless act. He served everybody! He didn’t have to. He didn’t have to do any of the things that He did when He came here. He didn’t even have to leave heaven. It was the ultimate selfless act for Him come down here.

Can you imagine what He must have been thinking? Continue reading

You’ve Got to Show Who Jesus Is

Saved by grace alone?  Doesn’t that let us off the hook?  Is it true we can do anything now — or nothing?  Last time I discussed how salvation by grace is a call to action.  This time, I expand on that.

I’ve had a lot to say about grace as the unmerited favor of God, but that’s only part of the story. Grace is also the Spirit of God working through you. You’ve got to show who Jesus is! And if you can identify the artist behind this cartoon, please let me know.

The Least of These

Throughout my baseball career, God has continually increased my role in Christian social justice projects. Due to my participation in hunger and abolition initiatives, and after I saw the joy expressed by Ugandan children over clean, clear water, I read about the judgment of the sheep and the goats in Matthew 25 with fresh eyes. And as I told you last time, this opened me anew to the simple truth of the Gospel. When you accept Christ as your Lord and Savior, and you make that dedication to love the Lord God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, then the Spirit of God becomes alive in you.

That’s when the aroma of Christ will flow out of you. Continue reading

Selfless Like Jesus

There’s no better way to reflect God’s love than by helping someone in need. Why is this the best way? Because you have to be selfless to help someone in need. In other words, you have to be like Jesus.

Jesus! When He came down, man, everything He did was a selfless act. He served everybody! He didn’t have to. He didn’t have to do any of the things that He did when He came here. He really didn’t even have to leave heaven. It was the ultimate selfless act for Him come down here.

Can you imagine what He must have been thinking? I can! I’m sure it was something like, “I have to come to this little planet here, and help these people? You’re telling me that I need to come here, to this planet, where they’re going to deny me, persecute me, judge me, run me to the edges of cliffs, and try to kill me all the time? Uh, really? That’s real fun.” You know?

He knew it was going to be hard times for Him, but He did it. It was a selfless act.

He looked at coming here and said, “You know what? I love these people, man! This is why God, my Father, created life. He created life for the purpose of relationship. And I’m going to go down there and reestablish that relationship. I’m going to restore it. I’m going to feed the hungry, and I’m going to set the captives free.”

It feels good to feed the hungry. Ask these Whitworth University students, who took a day last fall and packaged meals for the hungry.

And that’s where I think Matthew 25 comes in. That’s where Jesus separates the sheep from the goats. You know the parable. “When I was hungry, you fed me. When I was thirsty, you gave me something to drink. When I was in prison, you visited me.”

That’s huge! Think about it. It’s so big! “When I was hungry, you fed me.”

He was selfless to come here, and He promises to remember every one of our selfless acts. We may not understand why there is hunger in the first place. I don’t think we can truly understand why, because it’s not our call, it’s God’s. But that shouldn’t paralyze us, because we do have a calling. We’re called to be selfless like Jesus.

Jesus was selfless to come here, and He did it because He loves us. He shows us how to do the same thing. He shows us how to be selfless just like Him, and He inspires us to do it with love. “When I was hungry, you fed me.”

And here’s the greatest thing of all. When we’re selfless like Jesus, out of love we find fulfillment. Being selfless like Jesus brings the fulfillment that we crave. We may not even know we crave it, but we discover that we do, just as soon as we experience it. Fulfillment in Jesus is exactly what our souls crave.

And when you can say that you helped someone who was hungry by giving them something to eat? That’s when you’ll know.

Other People

God is a jealous God. Your relationship with Him is your number one priority. It is. And if you’re truly striving to have a relationship with God, then there will be change in you. You will become a better human being.

But I think Christians are sometimes like this:

“Hey, man, I don’t care about that person.”

Or they’re like this:

“I’ve got to make sure I read my Bible today, and I’ve got to make sure I take communion, and I’ve got to memorize my memory verse. Hey! That person just cut me off! Eff you!”

What? Time out! If this is you, you’re messing up somewhere. Continue reading

Something to Eat

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Last week I wrote that we’re supposed to be a church as a whole, a church everywhere in the world. We’re supposed to go out into the communities of the world to figure out who needs help. And then we’re supposed to get together and help!

This is exactly what we’ll be doing in Redwood City, California on December 3, and I would love to meet some of my readers there. Please contact us at Generation Alive to volunteer. We’re going to package 135,000 meals to send to southern Ethiopia, so that starving refugees will have something to eat. Continue reading