A new report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture says 14.6 percent of U.S households, or about 49 million Americans, are low on food. That equals one in seven people. This is the highest number since 1995 when the government began its "food security" report.
Charlyne and I know too well how many of our families, fractured by a prodigal spouse abandoning them, suffer the financial results of separation and divorce, but this study with its stats, brings it home. The other 85.4 percent of us buy what we please, waste food, go to restaurants when we want, eat too much (ouch) and all the rest, while our neighbors go hungry.
If you are in the 14.6 percent without enough to eat, please be assured of our prayers. We are asking God to touch someone to help you during the holidays. I would like to share a word with the larger group, those of us who are well-fed.
The distressing part of all this is that most people in need of food never tell anyone. We have found that people who ask for ministry help are often not the most needy. People who cannot afford food will train the bodies, and their children, to live on what they can afford, and go through the days with smiles on their faces, never sharing their basic need.
Do you realize numerically that out of the 100 homes closest to us, over 14 of them lack sufficient food? If you or I could only know who they are, we could take a meal to them, but we don't. When we witness someone in the grocery check-out line having to put back items, or when we see them counting pennies, we could quietly meet their immediate need.
Innocent children often give away a family's food plight. When the youngster playing with your children stays for dinner and eats as if starving, or comments on how their mom says they cannot afford meat, your antenna should go up.
Most of the 85.4 percent of us have witnessed the person at the gas station who buys a dollar's worth of gas, and then counts out odd coins to pay for it, struggling to get a few miles further along the highway of life. Once the man ahead of me at the pharmacy was unable to pick up his medication because he did not have enough money. The man had severe shortness of breath. Thank God, I had a credit card with me and charged his and my medicine.
Thanksgiving is only days ahead. While 85.4 percent of us plan big meals, for many, it will be one more day of survival. I am not talking about people in shelters or the homeless, but people just like you and me. They live in houses, go to church and school-but all with an empty stomach. I do not want to go to Heaven and to have God ask me why I did not help someone obviously in need.
Please understand clearly, I am not asking for you to send a single cent to Rejoice Marriage Ministries. I am asking that you help your neighbors who are in need. Be forewarned, they may be embarrassed and at first refuse your help. You could go through your pastor or someone else to get help to a specific family, be it cash or groceries. When we were divorced and I had left my family in need, Charlyne was humiliated to receive a Christmas food basket from our church, but she and our children ate everything given to them.
If you are serious about wanting a Happy Thanksgiving and a Merry Christmas, start sharing what God has entrusted to you with others, no matter how small, (Could our Lord God be waiting to see how you handle what He has already given to you before He answers your big prayer?)
PS - Reprint permission is given for every church bulletin and newsletter across the land.