Unsure what to expect, I arrived and checked in. I was issued a hairnet and ushered into and room for orientation. Two hours later, 30,000 meals had been packed by the group of volunteers. As we exited the room for the next shift to begin, someone said to me, “Wasn’t that fun!” Overwhelmed by the gravity of what the 2 hours of my time and theirs would mean to hungry people halfway around the world, I just replied, “It really was too easy and too fun to mean so much!”
Two hours of my time. That is all I gave to the Mobile Packing Event for Feed My Starving Children last week. However, when you add that to 2 hours from each of 1599 motivated others, the result is 320,000 plus meals packed for the impoverished and hungry around the world. That would feed 97 starving children for a year.
As I think about the love-fest that is Valentine’s Day (my apologies to Punxsutawney Phil for skipping his day), I find myself thinking about the many kinds of love and expressions of it, and I was reminded of a story… or two.
In the Book of John, Chapter 21, the author tells 2 stories of the resurrected Jesus with his disciples. In the first, the disciples are together, fishing. I would have been doing something similar having lost a dear friend, leader and Lord: looking for solace from outsiders, support from friends, and a sense of normalcy. It is in that state, that Jesus reveals himself to them, alive and loving them. And how is it that he loved them? He provided food and shared a meal with them, meeting their physical need while reconnecting and teaching.
Following that great moment, the author continues with another important exchange. Peter, the disciple who had denied Christ in the heat of the moment the week before, is reinstated:
When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.” (John 21:15-19 ESV)
There are so many nuances to each word used in this conversation, but without delving into word study and more, this passage has a simple message about love. If we love the Lord, we are to feed his people. Just as Jesus met the physical needs of those around him that they might be able to hear and understand the Good News, we are to do the same.
So you see, packing box after box of CHICKEN (-flavored nutritional powder), VEGGIES (dehydrated), SOY (protein powder), and RICE (a universal grain) for those in need around the world was truly an act and celebration of love.
For God so loved the world, He gave…
If you are looking for opportunities to volunteer or a way to serve Feed My Starving Children, visit their website. You may find a packing event near you, donate any amount of money for supplies, or purchase a t-shirt.
Thanks to all the church staff, FMSC staff, and other wonderful volunteers. Working in partnership with all of you was a privilege!