When was the last time you missed a meal? I’m not talking about grabbing a muffin on the way out of the door because you were late for work. When was the last time that you didn’t have anything to eat for supper and went to bed hungry – and woke up hungry the next morning? For most of us that just never happens, but it does for many people around the world. Food for Orphans estimates that sixty million orphans cry themselves to sleep every night with pain in their empty bellies . . . alone, scared, and hungry (www.foodfororphans.org). The United Nations estimates that 850 million people go to bed hungry somewhere in the world every night. That’s more than two and a half times the population of the United States. Can you imagine that many hungry people? Whenever we hear statistics like that our first thought is Why? Surely there is enough food in the world to feed everyone. Can’t we do something about it? And our sense of justice and fair play wants to scream out Just feed them!!, but the answers to the question are complex, involving underlying political, social, religious and economic issues.
What we often forget is that there is something vastly worse than going to bed hungry at night. Worse than even 850 million hungry people. It’s people who are starving spiritually. People who aren’t just missing one meal; they’ve never even been to the table. They don’t even know that the food they need exists. The Joshua Project estimates that 2.75 billion people have not heard the gospel message – that’s 41% of the world’s population (www.joshuaproject.net). They are starving. What does our sense of justice and fair play say now?
There is something equally as sad but much closer to home. Many Christians who have the opportunity to feed on the Word of God; who have the opportunity to be fed spiritually choose to neglect their spiritual food. Not because they don’t know about Christ – they do. Not because they don’t have a bible to read – they do. Not because they can’t attend church – they can. But simply because they choose to ignore their bibles and think that they can miss church without suffering any spiritual harm. They are like a starving orphan who is offered food but chooses not to take it. They can rationalize why they don’t have time to eat but the reality for most Christians in this situation is that they simply make a choice – to neglect their spiritual life. Why are we so concerned with starving people (and we should be) but not concerned with our own spiritual health?
You can make a donation to help the starving people of the world. You can get involved in helping to get the gospel message out to those who have never heard. I would encourage you to do both. But at the same time that you are helping others, don’t neglect your own spiritual life. Stay strong spiritually by feeding on the Word of God.
The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb (Psalm 19:9-10).