What is the Good News When You’re Poor?
People often ask: "What does feeding the hungry have to do with sharing the Gospel?" We want to say: Everything! When you're poor, "Give us our daily bread" is prayer of anxiety coming from a place of hunger pain. When you're hungry, you can't think of anything else. Think about the last time you were really hungry. You knew where your next meal would come from, but you still couldn't function until you ate. You couldn't think clearly. You couldn't see clearly. Now, imagine you feel like that nearly every day. Imagine, it's your number one prayer: "God, I need food." "God, my child needs to eat." When we offer a hungry person a plate of hot food in the name of Jesus; they see. They know. They make the connection that each bite is the tangible love of Jesus. They are seen. God cares...
Jesus preached the Good News. (The word Gospel is actually Greek for Good News.) Some of us find Good News in God’s forgiveness of sin. Or, in the promise of eternal life. But for the poor, Good News has to mean even more. Telling a single mother her afterlife is guaranteed when she doesn’t have enough food to feed her children today, really isn’t good news for her…at least not all of it. If l I tell you Jesus can take away your sins but not your hunger, again, that’s not Good News.
When you're poor, what sets Jesus apart is that he cared about bodies. He healed bodies; he defied powers that would harm bodies; he multiplied loaves of bread and fed bodies. Nobel Peace Prize winner Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu said, “I preach the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is concerned for the whole person. … Because the good news to a hungry person is bread.” When we feed children in the name of Jesus, we’re showing them God cares as much about them in THIS life as He does the NEXT. We’re showing their parents that God loves their children, body and soul. In South Africa, the Gospel that will save you SOMEDAY has been preached far and wide and hasn’t done much. After 15 years here, we know a Gospel served on a plate is much more likely to be digested in the soul.
"Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon." Is. 58:10
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Kevin and Tonya Stanfield
Serving in South Africa since 2007