It has been one of my enjoyments to serve in my church’s meal program and learn from it. Our youth/student minister started the program. Ideally, the plan is to allow parents not to have to worry about feeding their children or themselves before class on Wednesday night and allow time for fellowship. Also, the program serves to offer a meal for lower-income families, where meals being provided by someone else is a true blessing. I get this.
I grew up poor. There were times as a child, and as an adult, I was not sure where my next meal would come from or what it would be. Also, there were times when we ate the same things every morning and night for a week or longer. I am not too fond of corn flakes or beans and potatoes now.
I thank God this is no longer a concern in my life. But I get why Christians need to help people and children in need. In some ways, I have been in their shoes and walked the path they are now walking on empty stomachs. When I think how a church should respond to their “sheep’s” needs, I conclude that it is better for people to go away full in spirit (Word of God) and with a full stomach as an example to Christ’s response to the needs of the hungry, then for Christians to try to teach the Word of God on empty stomachs.
Jesus presents good examples for my conclusion many times in the Bible when he provides spiritual and physical food for his “sheep,” such as in John 17. He called out to them, ‘Friends, haven’t you any fish?’ ‘No, they answered.’ He said, ‘Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.’ When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish (vs. 5-6). After that, Jesus shared a meal with Simon Peter and the other disciples who had caught the fish (John 21:12-13). Then Jesus reinstates Simon Peter and tells him to feed His sheep (John 21:17) spiritually.
There are other things I’ve learned from the Wednesday night meal program, such as asking for help from other members, stepping back and letting people do the work their way, but also being there if they need help. Furthermore, I learned to plan and cook meals for 25-30 people, along with budgeting church funds for this program. One of my favorite things to do when serving this way is to stop for a moment and reflect on the children and people the church is feeding, physically and spiritually. In a way, this program has been a big blessing for me.
John 21:17, —– ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ He said, ‘Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.’
Jesus said, ‘Feed my sheep.’
Peace and Love