Monday, September 5, 2011

Food Banks – Service and The Outstretched Hand of God

© 2011 Cizon Sauceda
All Rights Reserved
Service and The Outstretched Hand of God

The content of a recent blog I read “irked” me to the nth degree!  Two quotes in the news article photo (the entire content of the blog) were what chafed me.  The unidentified author of the news article found in the The Ottawa Citizen out of  Winnipeg, Canada stated that a local church food bank "has announced it's closing because it is attracting too many poor people" and quoted the minister, Charlotte Prossen, as saying "It's attracting a lot of street people that made it's creating social unrest in the church...a food bank is a social service...that is not who we are."  Now I am keeping an open mind from a statement a friend made that she takes reporters and news articles 'with a grain of salt' due to some reporters inaccurately reporting the news, but to close a food bank for those purposes stated in this article just floor me.  Apparently serving in a food bank or any other community outreach for that matter can become a complicated endeavor but it isn't easy to stomach a poor answer to the demise of a churches example of Christ at work in the community. 

The church is the outstretched hand of Christ and we must serve even those who make us feel uncomfortable including the poor, the homeless, etc.  We are called to serve others in truth and in love and we as believers must heed the call.  Among other directives, Jesus Christ called us to love one another.
John 13:34-35 (NIV):  “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

There is no gray but black and white.  Good or Evil.  The fine line that is between being in this world or living as a transient in a world that is not our own but one in which we must strive to share the gospel with others.  We as Christians have a higher calling directly from the Master and we are called to serve.
We should be reaching out to meet the needs of those who are in need – all those in need – not just the lovely.  We must do for those in need as scripture teaches.
Matthew 25:35-40 (NIV):  For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’  “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’  “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ 


There will be a variety of ways to serve.  The food bank is one of them.  There will be all walks of people entering the food bank for assistance.  You may find the single parent, the homeless family, the tattered and tired homeless man or woman, the unemployed person whose benefits just ran out or the unemployed who never had unemployment income because they did not qualify, the recently downtrodden due to foreclosure and the economy, or the single student just trying to make ends meet while figuring out life.  Perhaps the one driving into the lot in the Cadillac or the Jag to receive assistance cannot sell the one car they have to make ends meet in a world that crashed around them as their house was recently foreclosed when the economy took a nose dive.  What about the family who has a home and the ability to cook and store food who might have a better insight as to what a family might need for sustainable assistance compared to the homeless man who seeks shelter daily without the appliances needed to eat routinely.  Should there not be a comment box or better yet you serving so they can sit and visit and let you know what they need?  There are many ways to work a food bank and not all ways will be the right way nor will they be the wrong way.  There is God's way and what is best for the neighborhood and the church.

We are called to bear witness to others of Christ The Risen Saviour.  When we serve whether it be by food bank or community service center we are in fact showing Christ's love by reaching out to the needs of our fellow brothers and sisters.  When you reach out to one of these you are reaching out to Christ.

 Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV):  Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
The Great Commission calls us to declare Christ boldly to the world and lead ALL to Him so that they may not perish and so that they too may know how to love one another in service and in Christ.  The One who will ultimately fill the needs of the people must first fill your heart so you can serve the needs of others.  I would like to see a church do more than just dole out groceries.  I think it would be great to see them offer opportunities for fellowship and worship as a part of the food bank.  I believe it would go a long way to see those serving to also worship with the people seeking to be served.  This time of communion can bring healing and friendship to the one in need.  Fellowship and service will bring unity to the church and to the community.
Yes church, you are a social service among many other things to meet the needs of the children your God loves and holds so dearly and wants so earnestly to enter and remain in his Kingdom.
My eyes have been opened today.  I plan to get involved in my community and share the love of Christ thru serving.  What have you learned?


  • Put on the shoes of the other person seeking assistance – what would it take for your family to survive?  Would your local food bank meet or partially that need?
  • Should the church provide a fellowship period when serving the community with a food bank to allow those in need to seek friendship and guidance?  Should there be more to a food bank than food such as counseling, medical, job location assistance, etc.?
  • Should churches hold food banks directly following services aimed at reaching the lost prior and require the ones being helped to attend in order to receive?
  • How do you think a Food Bank should operate?
  • Have your eyes been opened to serve?


Ray Seale said...

Couldn't have said it better myself! You have nailed it. After thinking abut that article, seems that church wanted the government to do the Churches work.

You are truly part of God's solution and not part of church's problem!