November 27, 2017 • Life for Leaders
If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.
The Hunger Project reports that 815 million people on earth are chronically hungry. Every day, over 8,000 children die of hunger-related causes. While most people in the United States do not suffer from extreme hunger, millions in this country are unable to afford the food they need for a healthy diet.
As God’s people through Jesus Christ, we cannot ignore the reality of hunger in our world. Nor can we sit by while millions starve. Simple compassion, not to mention Christ-like love, calls us to act.
In the time of Isaiah, God promised that if his people would feed the hungry and help those in trouble, then “[their] light will rise in the darkness, and [their] night will become like the noonday” (58:10).
The same is true today. As Christians band together to fight global hunger, not only will millions receive the help they desperately need, but also the world will see the light of Christ shining through us. Jesus once said, “Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matt 5:15-16). Surely, one of these “good deeds” is, in the words of Isaiah, spending ourselves in behalf of the hungry.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
How are you contributing to the effort of God’s people to feed the hungry?
Are you planning to do anything extra in this special season of Advent? What might you do to be generous with those who are in need of basics like food, clothing, and shelter?
Gracious God, I must confess that it’s easy for me to neglect the hungry. I can look away when I see them huddled under the freeway overpass. I don’t read many news stories on children dying from hunger. It’s easy for me to be insulated from the reality of hunger in my community, not to mention the wider world. Forgive me, Lord, for my narrow vision, even for my hardness of heart.
Today, I pray especially for your church, that we might be mobilized even more to feed the hungry. Thank you for organizations like Bread for the World and World Vision, which help us to meet human needs in an effective way. Thank you for thousands of believers throughout the world who are using their knowledge and skills to help the poor overcome poverty. Use their efforts and so many others to bring an end to starvation.
I also pray, Lord, for long term solutions to hunger, not just temporary fixes. May farmers grow enough food for all the inhabitants of this globe, stewarding well the earth you have entrusted to us. May corporations and governments be guided by your justice. May commerce and micro-business flourish in places of need, so that all people might have stable income and the dignity of work. May your church grow in its care for and empowerment of the poor, so that your light might shine through us into this dark world. Amen.
Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online commentary: Salt and Light in the World of Work (Matthew 5:13-16)
Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.