Sometimes I wince at the luxury of my life. Scores of commercials accent my commute offering me some new take on the good life or helping me enhance my earning power, as if my option is live on dregs like I do now. It’s not dregs, though. We have a lot of choices and some disposable income. Everybody wants to trade me something for that money.
I live in a metropolitan area that seems to be made of money. Thousands of houses here would be mansions in any other era and in any other culture. I have one vehicle that cost used more than my first house (it was a really cheap house). I own jackets and clothing for weather that Dallas will never experience this side of an ice age. So it goes but I’m done confessing; you get the point. Yet I’m still tempted by more and better and newer.
And I find the fact that millions in the world are hungry pretty uncomfortable to consider. Maybe we’re supposed to weigh that against the purchase of a giant TV or a monster truck. There probably is a connection between all this unease. We have too much, want too much, and keep too much for ourselves as a culture?all this while being the most generous nation on the planet.
For Christians, it’s more than unease. We’re supposed to feed the hungry because it is the command of Christ and not merely to assuage our guilt.
October is the month we highlight hunger relief in the Southern Baptist Convention. You’ll find in this issue of the TEXAN a promo for information that churches can provide to help their members understand the need as well as some ways to help. (see page 13)
While hundreds of organizations will gladly receive your gifts to alleviate hunger, the Southern Baptist World Hunger Fund has some advantages. The biggest advantage is efficiency. Exactly 100 percent of all money given through the hunger fund or given directly to one of our mission boards and designated for hunger goes to hunger relief. We already have the staff (missionaries, right?) in place; we already have ministries located in areas of need. One dollar given equals one dollar’s worth of food distributed.
Money sent through the general hunger fund is split 80 percent for international hunger relief and 20 percent for U.S. hunger relief.
A second important advantage is the message. Our convention is not an ecumenical body; we don’t have to have a meeting before deciding to share the gospel with someone we’re feeding. In fact, feeding the spiritual person is unapologetically part of our hunger relief program. Some relief agencies are less direct with the message of the gospel.
A third advantage is accountability. You know where the money is going and it can be accounted for. You also know that the convention will be in place long enough to distribute the food you’ve bought. You can know that the food will not rot on a dock while someone works through the red tape. You can be sure that the money will not be used for bribes. You can be confident that the food will not be used to enrich military gangs.
You can donate online at namb.net/hunger or at imb.org/worldhunger. You can also give through your church by designating a gift to the Southern Baptist World Hunger Fund. That money, sent with your church’s CP giving will be passed by the state convention to the SBC Executive Committee which will send 80 percent through the IMB and 20 percent through NAMB. It’s something we should all do.