Then Jesus called his disciples and told them, “I feel sorry for these people. They have been here with me for three days, and they have nothing left to eat. I don’t want to send them away hungry, or they will faint along the way.” (Matthew 15:32)
Relate: I have to be honest. The moment I put the verse for today up above, I heard something. My stomach growled and it wasn’t quiet. The guy next to me in Starbucks looked over and grinned. So I did what any sane person would do. I got up from my table at Starbucks, walked past the movie theater entrance, and headed into the food court. It was packed. Seriously. There are at least a good thirty food options here at Maltepe Park and every single one of them had long lines. There’s easily a couple hundred tables at this food court but I could see plenty of people walking back and forth with their food trying to find an open table. As hungry as I might be, I can easily wait another hour or two before getting some dinner. I really want some Tavuk Dünyası but the waiting time for a table there has got to be a good hour at this point.
So I am back at Starbucks. I was half tempted to grab a back of chips to munch on to tide me over but I decided against it. After all, hunger is the best of seasonings. It is, at least, if there is the hope of food at the end of the wait. When I first entered this mall, I passed by an elderly lady selling tissue packets on a street corner. The fact that it is cold, cloudy and snowing doesn’t matter. She is there trying to make enough money to keep a roof on her head and food on the table. I have seen some of the “roofs” and “meals” other Syrian refugees in similar situations are contending with and both words are a bit of a stretch.
According to UNICEF, twenty-two thousand kids died today from malnutrition or other side effects of extreme poverty. Right now there are 165 million kids under the age of five have stunted growth because of malnutrition. When you factor its contribution towards other conditions, one can easily say with confidence that right now, in 2016, hunger is the number one killer in the world and there is no close second.
React: Hunger moved the heart of God. One of the most famous miracles of Jesus, and one He performed twice, was the feeding of the multitude. It is one of the few miracles that is told in all four of the gospels. Both as an institution and as a collection of individuals, the Church has a responsibility to be in the forefront of battling this cruel killer. There is no shortage of food, it is simply a matter of distribution, and resources, and… love.
In a short while I will get back up from my table and head back out into that crowded food court with its orgy of options. I will probably spend about 15tl on whatever it is I eat. How much will I be spending on food this week? What about you? How big is your weekly food budget? What if we all took a week and “tithed” off our food budget towards something like World Vision, Samaritan’s Purse, or the One Campaign? What we give might not be much but I’m pretty sure I know of a little who probably thought the same thing when offering his lunch to Jesus.
God, let my heart break for the things that break yours. When I see over and over again the ones around me living in destitute poverty, don’t let my heart grow cold. When I see and read over and over again the mind boggling numbers of those who are living in horrible situations, don’t let me grow calloused. Keep me sensitive. Keep me soft hearted. Above all, help me to do the little I can knowing Your ability to multiply.