And before you get all grossed out, I’ll be quick to add I’m quoting the Bible. Sort of. Jesus knew a thing about digestion. And he really should have. When the apostle John introduced Jesus to the world, he said, about him, “All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.”
But it is in Matthew’s gospel that we read Jesus saying, “Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled?”
And I don’t think we need to elaborate, or as my friend likes to say, “philosophize” on the word “expelled.”
So then, each week, with our wide smiles and warm hands, are we merely holding the hair of the nauseated?
But Jesus knew a thing about hunger too. Twice in his three-year earthly ministry he used his divine energy, to turn scarcity into abundance when he fed several thousand people with a few fish and a little bread. And he stood up to Pharisee lawyers when they tried to convict Jesus’ hungry disciples of working on a Sunday as they picked the grains from stalks of wheat.
And he was well acquainted with thirst. Having been left alone at the well while his disciples went to Kroger, Jesus encounters a woman whose job it is to slake thirst. Of course, they end up speaking about different kinds of thirst, but his message about spiritual thirst was predicated on his understanding of physical thirst. He knew she’d get it.
But in Kingdom value, there’s way more import to slinging food and drink than the inevitable expulsion would seem to indicate, and here’s how we know. I’d like to borrow this next part from my pastor, Shane, who spoke on this spot in the Bible a few weeks ago.
Jesus was explaining the way things are going to happen at the end and he said that folks will be split into two groups, and to make it easy for his audience he called them sheep and goats. And he didn’t mean GOAT, like we use now to refer to a person who is the Greatest Of All Time, like that could ever be anyone but Jesus. He meant the kind with horns that like to ram their heads into stuff.
So he’s differentiating these two groups and talks about all the kind things the sheep have done for him like providing food and drink when he was hungry and thirsty. And right here, my pastor mimicked a person in the crowd, who upon hearing this might have turned to the person next to him and said, “Hey, I just got here. When did I ever give this guy food or water? I’ve never even seen him before.”
And Jesus, knowing this person wasn’t alone in his thinking, answers the unasked question for everyone. “When you gave food or water, among other needed things, to the most marginalized and disadvantaged in our community, you didn’t just give it to them.
“You gave it to me.”
So, yeah, this is a lot more valuable than holding a puker’s hair, precious as that might be. And it doesn’t matter that all of what we give away each week will be in the water treatment plant by the time we serve the next week. When we give, we’re giving to Jesus.
And so are you.
Everything you give us, is given to our clients.
So your story, too, is that you feed hungry people.
We had a ridiculous day at the Storehouse today. A person from AETN doing a documentary on food insecurity, who has been following our pantry for a year, met me at Panera and filmed as I picked up food there, and at Hendrix, and Larry’s Pizza.
Then he came in and filmed our volunteers prepping for the day. He stayed with us through the team meeting and prayers. When the door opened, a couple of clients agreed to be filmed while they took their turn at the computer. And finally, a client with a little girl agreed to be filmed through the pantry from beginning to end.
What an incredible and awesome opportunity to tell the story of our clients and their needs. We are helping him tell the story he wants to tell. He is helping us tell ours.
We served 85 people on this last serve day of March. That’s the highest serve total on a last Thursday of the month since I became the director, apart from the Thursday before Christmas (89).
I spent most of my time in the warehouse. Feed the Need is coming. Have I mentioned that? We’re going to need as many open pallet bays in the warehouse as possible on the day. So we’re moving, shuffling, handling and rehandling items as quantities dwindle.
And speaking of, we’ve got one more serving day before that big day. I’ve prayed and hoped and wondered if we’d have enough food specifically for next week. And you know what? We’re going to make it. Primarily because of the grace of Jesus. And too, because of folks like you who just keep bringing necessary food times.
Thanks is not enough, but it’s all we’ve got.
I am the Storehouse Director and get the privilege of writing about the people that Jesus loves.
Contact Mike Rush at firstname.lastname@example.org for all things "Volunteer".
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