The Bible doesn’t make sense if you read only one bit. I think of the scripture (Matt 6:25-33) about how we should seek after righteousness; not worry about what we will eat or drink or ask ourselves how we will be clothed, because God knows we have needs and He will provide them.
But He doesn’t. God does not always provide our needs! And I know for sure that those who are hungry, naked, thirsty are not all evil or blameworthy. Some are innocent babies and children. There is no way God will say that He is not caring for them because they didn’t seek after righteousness. No way.
I can’t explain why He doesn’t work miracles when the innocent are starving. Aid through humans, goes to impoverished or drought-stricken areas, but it doesn’t reach everyone. I’m still traumatised by the photos of starving children of Somalia with vultures waiting to eat them. I’m still haunted by photos of Holocaust victims. Still stunned at the cruelty of slavery. Of the many who starved in the slave boats before living under torture.
There is no way I can accept this scripture as is.
And I don’t have to. God Himself tells us that we will “always” have the poor with us. Our job if we are not poor, is to share with those who are. If we have a slice of bread, to give half. If we have two pairs of shoes, to give the other. Maybe the reason why people were not to worry about what they would eat was that those with food were meant to share it.
But they didn’t.
And we aren’t. And so, people DO have to worry about what they will eat. They have to worry about if they’ll survive the next bombings or missile attacks. They have to worry about what their children will eat. Remember all the stories of the South African mothers who fed their children ray poison to kill them as they had no means of feeding them? Or the orphaned older siblings who did that to themselves and their younger siblings? These are all innocent souls. God will have them enter in His kingdom.
But the neighbours… What about them? Were they unaware? Were they ignorant? Or were they fully aware but decided it had nothing to do with them? Are the neighbours of the suffering seeking after righteousness? I mean CHRISTIAN neighbours. Because if they are, then those children should not be starving to death. Even one extra slice of bread, one apple a day would mean the difference between life and death.
My question basically is
ARE WE DOING ENOUGH!?? And I’m asking this with tears in my eyes.
I shared with some friends about a couple we met at one of our old churches. They were younger than us. Foreign. You could tell they weren’t wealthy. The wife wasn’t ‘doing’ her hair. She wasn’t like others of her country who relax their hair or wear weaves and wigs. It could have been a choice to be simple. I don’t do those things after all, but something called us and pulled us towards them when the young wife was pregnant.
We asked if we could visit them one day. He was a student at the university doing his PhD. She wasn’t. They were sharing a flat with another male. I asked to use the loo, and crept into the kitchen to see if they were ok. There was a quiet air of desperation that we had both felt, and our time with them made it even clearer that things weren’t ok. They weren’t ok. There was virtually nothing in the fridge, nothing in the cupboard except plates.
Wish I could explain what it’s like to feel your heart crack while you go back and sit down with people who you know are not eating. To go pretend you weren’t snooping about.
We went and got food as soon as we could afford it and brought it back. And then it came out… They were using all money for accommodation and fees. On its own, his other qualification wasn’t enough to give them a job in his country. Hopefully the PhD would open other avenues in academia. In the meantime, they were struggling. Worse yet, the ladies at church were telling her to stop wearing her normal clothes and buy maternity clothes. They told her she was strangling/smothering the baby…Told her she looked awkward.
Did any of these church ladies ask themselves if she could afford new clothes? Did they know or care to know that one time, while standing on a chair, she fainted from hunger and was found by their flat mate? Did these Christian ‘sisters’ ever know that things were so bad that her husband would ask the flatmate for bread for his wife?
See, this is what gets me. We parade our Sabbath best on social media while our own church members are slowly starving. Who cares that she wasn’t wearing maternity wear given the baby was not even being FED!?
At the very least, our own church members should NOT be worrying about what to wear, eat, and drink, because we should be caring for them. And not just once only. For as long as they are struggling! There’s another family we followed around as they had to move from bad area to worse area to backyard… Husband a teacher but contracts not being honoured-not receiving a salary at all after being a teacher for months…
And it’s not like you have to give what you do not have! Give! Just GIVE! We gave them our son’s pram before he was even ready to walk, just because they had such great need. The way the wife SCREAMED with joy, I was half scared she’d scare her baby out! it was the most thrilling moment ever. The clothes, the food were enough, but that pram … You know how expensive sturdy prams are. There’s no way they’d have gotten one. And she needed to take walks when stressed. Especially when you’re living in a high rise one bed flat with your growing family. Walking is great stress relief. Prams are not a necessity, but they are a wonderful Bo us.
It’s our duty to love as MUCH as we can. With our hearts, our thoughts, our deeds and gifts. When I think of these various people and how happy it made me, my heart melts. Even other things make a difference. My friend’s mom was sick from ..something. Only came out later when she passed away that it was AIDS. She was the only one with a job, the husband was unable to find employment. My friend was in high school and the oldest of her four siblings. When we took food, my dad took their dirty blankets and washed them by hand (and foot) in the bath tub. Things like that make a difference to a struggling family.
Let’s be the reason why nobody has to worry about their food and drink and clothing. All of us, because one small group or one family can’t help everybody. But everybody can help some body! May WE provide the clothing that will cover them as the colour covers the lily in the field. People in the church, and those out the church.