I'm posting that CBS interview here on my blog, but first I want to acknowledge why we, as Christians, feed the hungry. It isn't just to fill their empty bellies. It isn't just to satisfy a temporal need. It isn't just to do something that makes us feel good about ourselves. It isn't just about the here and now.
Though I agree completely with Hallie the Homemaker about the importance of feeding the hungry real food, I had to think this thing out in order to get a perspective that not only validates Hallee's concerns but also considers God's sovereignty regarding man's hunger problem. After considering various Scriptures, I felt less frustrated about the problem with feeding the homeless and the hungry and confident in God's greater concern for them.
The text that started me on my way was Christ's reminder to us of the sobering truth that, "...man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord." Jesus quoted that verse to Satan when He was being tempted after having fasted for forty days and forty nights. Hunger creates vulnerability and Satan wanted to capitalize on Christ's hunger to magnify himself, and to transfer Jesus' focus onto His physical need, rendering Him independent from His Father. He said to Jesus, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread." (Matthew 4:3).
Jesus responded by quoting the well-known verse from Deuteronomy (as mentioned above). But have you ever looked at that text in the Old Testament in its entirety? Amazingly, it says, "And He humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord." (Deuteronomy 8:3-4)
Wow!!! That's an eye opener. Physical hunger is often given to call us to listen to the word of the Lord - His every word. And didn't the "Word" become flesh and dwell among us? Jesus is the Word of God as we learn in John 1:1, and 1:14. Furthermore, in Matthew 17:5, God audibly spoke of His Son to the disciples when He said, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him."
Listen to Him! What a charge. If we listen to Jesus we hear Him say in John 14:6, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." And we hear, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again." (John 3:3). And we hear Him say, "...the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Mark 10:45).
Then we hear Him say, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry..." (John 6:35); and "...whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." (John 4:14-15). Of course Jesus is speaking here of a hunger and thirst that goes much deeper than bodily hunger or thirst. He is offering Himself as the only lasting thirst-quenching drink and hunger-satisfying food that will ever fill our souls completely.
So even though we may have to settle for processed, devitalized and chemical laden foods (while changing what we can for the better) to feed those who have a physical hunger, we will never have to offer second rate soul-food to them. Jesus satisfies hungry souls as only Jesus can and He serves up eternal life for all those who take refuge in His work on the Cross.
Hunger is sometimes given as a tool to bring men and women to the Savior. This is a message that is proclaimed throughout Scripture as we have seen. How wonderful to be able to see those who are physically hungry embrace Him who truly satisfies. Tim understands this. I think he must be one of the most blessed food servers this side of heaven. He gets to offer both real physical food and the Bread of Life to those hungry souls that come his way. How magnificent!
"Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!" Psalm 34:8
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And there be no fruit on the vines,
Though the yield of the olive should fail
And the fields produce no food,
Though the flock should be cut off from the fold
And there be no cattle in the stalls,
Yet I will exult in the Lord,
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation." (Habakkuk 3:17-19)