Thursday, January 13, 2011

Caring for a Hungry World

The tenth chapter of Mark’s Gospel tells us the story of a man who asked Jesus an important question—Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life? People throughout Christian history have continued to ask this question. What does my faith require of me? How can I live out my faith each day? Jesus points the man to the commandments, specifically the commandments which focus on our relationships with each other. The man’s response indicated that he was a “rule keeper.” He knew how to play the religion game, but his legalistic approach to his faith had never brought him peace.

Jesus would not allow him settle for an attempted short-cut to the Kingdom of God. Jesus lovingly pointed him to heart of the Christian faith. You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me. We have to get our focus off ourselves and off our possessions. Jesus pointed the man to the needs of the poor.

Many churches promote a World Hunger Offering to provide an opportunity for church members to learn about hunger needs and an opportunity give to meet these needs. “Bread for the World” reports the world is facing a hunger crisis unlike anything it has seen in more than 50 years. Every day, almost 16,000 children die from hunger-related causes. That's one child every five seconds. There were 1.4 billion people in extreme poverty in 2005. The World Bank estimates that the spike in global food prices in 2008, followed by the global economic recession in 2009 and 2010 has pushed between 100-150 million people into poverty.

Churchnet is collaborating with Texas Baptists through our partnership to promote our World Hunger Offering. Some churches promote their Hunger Offering in the fall, but many churches are beginning to promote gifts to World Hunger throughout the year. We are beginning to develop World Hunger resources for churches on our new website (www.thechurchnet.org). We are also providing an opportunity for churches to apply for hunger funds for local hunger ministries here in our own state. You can visit our site to download the application form for hunger funds for 2012 or contact our Churchnet office. Applications for 2012 funding must be received in the Churchnet office no later than February 14, 2011.

The World Hunger Offering helps to meet hunger needs here in Missouri, across our nation, and around the world through Baptist World Aid. We would love to hear how you are meeting the needs of the hungry in your community. Check out our website for information about ways your church can promote a World Hunger Offering. Our Savior continues to point us to the needs of the poor and the hungry in our world.

This article was written for the Churchnet page in the next issue of the Word&Way.

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